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Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Dr. Jean Forward
Dr. Krista Harper
Dr. Kathryn Tracy
Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Other Anthropology | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social and Cultural Anthropology
This dissertation is both qualitative and collaborative. It emphasizes the participant observation and ethnographic documentation of two community-researcher partnerships on community-level health interventions in Springfield, MA. Drawing upon critical theories and reflexive methods, I explore and analyze the process of building and sustaining researcher-community partnerships in an era of limited funding. Two Springfield, MA-based projects – one on healthy cooking/eating, and the other on contingency management – serve as case studies to provide a concrete picture of the complex relationships of researcher-community collaborations. I use ethnographic storytelling to provide a multi-dimensional look at two different community-research partnerships on health disparities work. I have chosen ethnography as my primary methodology because I am interested in gaining a broad understanding of Springfield as a post-industrial city – a city with both a complex support system of public health services and a community suffering from poor health outcomes. My dissertation explores the following questions: What are the factors that contribute to successful community-research partnerships? What are the challenges to creating and sustaining good community-research collaborations? And what recommendations or strategies can build social and cultural capacity for these types of partnerships?
My experience on-the-ground highlighted a gap in the literature on community-research partnerships. I discuss the need for expanding the list of collaborators to include community college faculty and students, funding agents, and grassroots community leaders – not just service agencies standing in as representatives of the community. Given my personal and professional experience over the last twelve years, I believe that, in the end, successful community-research partnerships must build on the strengths already in the community in order to create a lasting impact in the community. For Springfield, that means bringing "everyone to the table," , in other words, a diverse group of people who all have a vested interest in improving the health of Springfield residents.
Martinez, Vanessa, "CONVERSATIONS WITH THE COMMUNITY: AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF TWO CASE STUDIES HIGHLIGHTING COMMUNITY-RESEARCH PARTNERSHIPS IN SPRINGFIELD, MA" (2014). Doctoral Dissertations. 114.
Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Community-Based Learning Commons, Community-Based Research Commons, Community Health and Preventive Medicine Commons, Other Anthropology Commons, Public Health Education and Promotion Commons, Social and Cultural Anthropology Commons