Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a type of research that involves close collaboration and co-creation between community providers, consumers, and academic researchers or formal evaluators. Collaborative community-based research is frequently labeled as CBPR, even in cases where the research is not in itself an iterative, co-creation process. These misunderstandings about CPBR and what it truly entails are limiting to the field of harm reduction, because CBPR can be a very high-impact tool when used correctly. Truly understanding CBPR implementation and its benefits would behoove harm reduction programs, because these programs can adopt elements of CBPR in alignment of the “nothing about us without us” tenet of harm reduction services. Given this, NASTAD set out to create a technical assistance package providing information and helpful tools and tips about the use of CBPR models to evaluate impact of harm reduction programs.
First, Facente Consulting systematically gathered information about various CBPR models, including case studies of their use within the harm reduction space. We created a PowerPoint slide deck of findings from this review, for use by NASTAD or partners in future presentations and trainings. Then, we conducted interviews with CBPR experts and stakeholders to inform the development of the implementation guide. Following that, we synthesized information from the first two phases and developed a user-friendly implementation guide that provides information about best practices for CBPR implementation as a part of harm reduction program evaluation, along with concrete tips and helpful tools.