Developing a Community Science Research Agenda for Building Community Capacity for Effective Preventive Interventions

Published in: American Journal of Community Psychology, v. 34, no. 3-4, June 2005, p. 143-157

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Matthew Chinman, Gordon Hannah, Abraham Wandersman, Patricia A. Ebener, Sarah B. Hunter, Pamela Imm, Jeffrey Sheldon

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Research has shown that prevention programming can improve community health when implemented well. There are examples of successful prevention in local communities, however many continue to face significant challenges, demonstrating a gap between science and practice. Common strategies within the United States to address this gap are available (e.g., trainings), but lack outcomes. Building community capacity to implement high quality prevention can help communities achieve positive health outcomes, thereby narrowing the gap. While there is ample research on the efficacy of evidence-based programs, there is little on how to improve community capacity to improve prevention quality. In order to narrow the gap, a new model of research-one based in Community Science-is suggested that improves the latest theoretical understanding of community capacity and evaluates technologies designed to enhance it. In this article, the authors describe this model and suggest a research agenda that can lead to improved outcomes at the local level.

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