Submitted to: University of Southern Mississippi Thesis
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2005
Publication Date: 8/15/2005
Citation: Ndirangu, M. 2005. Evaluating the effectivensess of the delta nutrition intervention research initiative (NIRI) community-academia coalitions as perceived by community partners [thesis]. University of Southern Mississippi. 350 p. Interpretive Summary: Community-based participatory research addresses past problems of community members being passive participants in research studies, with all control resting in researchers' hands. Understanding perceptions of community members about participatory research collaborations allows such collaborations to build on strengths and to address challenges, yielding improved health outcomes. Community advisory committee members in three lower Mississippi Delta communities identified accomplishments of and barriers to such collaborations. Accomplishments included formation and maintenance of active committees, positive changes in health behavior related to food choices in community committee members, and participation in community events and activities. Barriers included the slow pace of intervention implementation, difficulties with understanding the community's role in the participatory research process, decision-making processes, and project name recognition. Factors related to success were tangible benefits to the community associated with partnerships, participation representative of the whole community, simplification of the research process, and participatory decision-making processes. These findings can be applied to university-community collaborations in other rural minority communities, and thus foster productive health and nutrition research collaborations.
Technical Abstract: This study examined the perception of Delta NIRI community committee members and reviewed project documents to determine the effectiveness of the NIRI committees in enhancing the capacity of community members and planning for sustainability. Six focus group interviews were conducted in the three research sites of Franklin Parish, LA; Hollandale, MS; and Marvell, AR. The groups included 33 adults, of which 27 were females and 6 were males, 29 were African American and 4 were white. General and specific content coding completed data analyses. Descriptive and interpretive summaries and emerging themes were identified. Documents from the research sites were also examined. Documents reviewed were meeting minutes, attendance records, activity reports, and rules, procedures and bylaws documents. Documents were coded and analyzed for themes. Emerging themes related to the committees' structure, participation, accomplishments and barriers to effectiveness, sustainability, and the role of the community and university/ARS-USDA partners. Community committee members had varying perceptions about how effective the Delta NIRI committees had been in enhancing community capacity. They made recommendations on how the role of the partners should evolve and suggested strategies to make the Delta NIRI committees' efforts sustainable in their communities.