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J Health Dispar Res Pract. 2012;5(2). pii: 1.

An Innovative Approach for Community Engagement: Using an Audience Response System.

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Moffitt Cancer Center.


Community-based participatory research methods allow for community engagement in the effort to reduce cancer health disparities. Community engagement involves health professionals becoming a part of the community in order to build trust, learn from the community and empower them to reduce disparities through their own initiatives and ideas. Audience Response Systems (ARS) are an innovative and engaging way to involve the community and obtain data for research purposes using keypads to report results via power point. The use of ARS within communities is very limited and serves to widen the disparity gap by not delivering new advances in medical knowledge and technology among all population groups. ARS was implemented at a community town hall event sponsored by a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Exploratory Center of Excellence, the Center for Equal Health. Participants appreciated being able to see how everyone else answered and felt included in the research process. ARS is beneficial because the community can answer truthfully and provides instant research results. Additionally, researchers can collect large amounts of data quickly, in a non-threatening way while tracking individual responses anonymously. Audience Response Systems proved to be an effective tool for successfully accomplishing community-based participatory research.


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