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Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Jun;109 Suppl 3:435-41.

Something for everyone? A community and academic partnership to address farmworker pesticide exposure in North Carolina.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC 27157-1084 USA.


Partnerships between academic researchers and community organizations are frequently formed to address environmental health concerns in underserved communities. Although such participatory approaches to research combine valuable assets of both partners, they are often difficult to maintain. We describe a partnership formed to investigate migrant and seasonal farmworker exposure to pesticides in North Carolina and to develop effective interventions to reduce exposure. North Carolina ranks fifth in the United States in the number of farmworkers; most are from Mexico, and a significant minority come to the United States on work contracts. Several barriers to establishing effective collaboration were recognized in this partnership, including stereotypes, cultural differences, competing demands for time and attention, and differences in orientation to power structures. To overcome these barriers, members of the partnership took actions in three domains: clarifying the different goals of each partner, operationalizing a model of participation that could involve many different community segments developing cultural sensitivity. By taking these actions, the work of the partnership was accomplished in ways that met the criteria for success of both academic researchers and community members. This approach can be used by others to develop collaborative relationships to investigate environmental health issues within a community-based participatory framework.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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