Small CBPR Grants Program

An Innovative Model to Build Sustainable Academic-Community Partnerships


  • Payam Sheikhattari
  • Jummai Apata
  • Gillian Beth Silver
  • Shiva Mehravaran
  • Emma Mitchell
  • Shervin Assari Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science



Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is an effective approach for addressing health disparities by integrating diverse knowledge and expertise from both academic and community partners throughout the research process. However, universities and funding agencies have not done enough to invest in the foundational infrastructure and resources that are necessary for building and maintaining lasting trusting research partnerships and supporting them to generate impactful research projects and solutions. Small CBPR Grants Program is a CBPR-seed-funding program that may be particularly helpful to minority-serving institutions’ and universities’ goal to invest in genuine community-engaged research. The Morgan State University Prevention Sciences Research Center, in collaboration with other community and academic organizations, provided 14 small CBPR awards to new partnerships, and evaluated the success and challenges of the program over a period of three years. To achieve our goal, technical support and training were provided to these partnerships to help with their growth and success. The expected outcomes included trusting relationships and equitable partnerships, as well as publications, presentations, and new proposals and awards to work on mutually identified issues. The program’s results included: continued partnerships beyond the program (in most cases), a founded CBPR Center, and a few secured additional funding. One key to the program’s success was supporting the formation of research partnerships through networking opportunities and information sessions, as well as providing small grants to incentivize the development of innovative concepts and projects. A learning network and local support group were also created to enhance productivity and the overall impact of each project.