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Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2012 Fall;6(3):369-80. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2012.0033.

Creating a practice-based research network from scratch: where do I begin?

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University of Texas Health Science Center Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science-Family and Community Medicine, USA.



As of today, 50% of Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)-funded Academic Health Centers are engaging community clinicians through the practice-based research network (PBRN) mechanism, which has been identified as a best practice by the CTSA National Leadership. A PBRN is an organization of community clinicians who work together with researchers to answer meaningful questions that will improve patient care.


This paper outlines the steps that were led to success during the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio's journey of developing four PBRNs over 3 years: (1) identifying network directors; (2) deciding who to include; (3) obtaining recruitment lists; (4) sending out mailers; (5) hosting the first PBRN meeting; (6) gaining institutional review board (IRB) approval; (7) launching a simple study; (8) returning the findings; and (9) formalizing the PBRN and moving forward.


CTSAs will continue to seek ways to effectively engage community members in the clinical translation process.


PBRNs are a promising laboratory for generating research questions directly from clinicians, conducting meaningful research, and then disseminating the findings to the larger community to accelerate positive change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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