Trialing the Community-Based Collaborative Action Research Framework: Supporting Rural Health Through a Community Health Needs Assessment

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Abstract

Purpose. To describe the application of the Community-Based Collaborative Action Research (CBCAR) framework to uplift rural community voices while conducting a community health needs assessment (CHNA) by formulating a partnership between a critical access hospital, public health agency, school of nursing, and community members to improve societal health of this rural community. Method. This prospective explorative study used the CBCAR framework in the design, collection, and analysis of the data. The framework phases include: Partnership, dialogue, pattern recognition, dialogue on meaning of pattern, insight into action, and reflecting on evolving pattern. Discussion. Hospital and public health agency leaders learned how to use the CBCAR framework when conducting a CHNA to meet Affordable Care Act federal requirements. Closing the community engagement gap helped ensure all voices were heard, maximized intellectual capital, synergized efforts, improved communication by establishing trust, aligned resources with initiatives, and diminished power struggles regarding rural health. Conclusion. The CBCAR framework facilitated community engagement and promoted critical dialogue where community voices were heard. A sustainable community-based collaborative was formed. The project increased the critical access hospital’s capacity to conduct a CHNA. The collaborative’s decision-making capacity was challenged and ultimately strengthened as efforts continue to be made to address rural health.

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