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AIDS Care. 2011 Aug;23(8):1006-13. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2010.542126. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Exploring group dynamics for integrating scientific and experiential knowledge in Community Advisory Boards for HIV research.

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School of Social Work, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


To demonstrate how Community Advisory Boards (CABs) can best integrate community perspectives with scientific knowledge and involve community in disseminating HIV knowledge, this paper provides a case study exploring the structure and dynamic process of a "Community Collaborative Board" (CCB). We use the term CCB to emphasize collaboration over advisement. The CCB membership, structure, and dynamics are informed by theory and research. The CCB is affiliated with Columbia University School of Social Work and its original membership included 30 members. CCB was built using six systematized steps meant to engage members in procedural and substantive research roles: (1) engaging membership; (2) developing relationships; (3) exchanging information; (4) negotiation and decision-making; (5) retaining membership; and (6) studying dynamic process. This model requires that all meetings be audio-taped to capture CCB dynamics. Using transcribed meeting data, we have identified group dynamics that help the CCB accomplish its objectives: (1) dialectic process helps exchange of information; (2) mutual support helps members work together despite social and professional differences; and (3) problem solving helps members achieve consensus. These dynamics also help members attain knowledge about HIV treatment and prevention and disseminate HIV-related knowledge. CABs can be purposeful in their use of group dynamics, narrow the knowledge gap between researchers and community partners, prepare members for procedural and substantive research roles, and retain community partners.

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