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2002 CRN 5th Annual Conference

The Fifth Annual Community Research Network Conference was held on June 13-16 at Loyola University of Chicago. The theme this year: “Building Healthy Communities: Overcoming the Social, Economic, and Environmental Barriers with Community-Based Research.” The conference is co-sponsored by the Loka Institute and the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) at Loyola University. More information will be available soon. We gratefully acknowledge the Annie E. Casey Foundation for its generous support, which made this year's conference possible. We also thank the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for its generous long term support of the CRN.

Thank you for your support for the CRN Conference.


2002 CRN Conference Video

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Fifth Annual Community Research Network Conference – June 13-16, 2002

At Loyola University of Chicago


Co-sponsored by:

The Loka Institute and Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL)

We cordially invite proposals for presentations and workshops at the Loka Institute’s Fifth Annual Community Research Network Conference, June 13-16, 2002, at Loyola University of Chicago. Conference co-sponsors this year are the Loka Institute and Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL).

The annual CRN conference provides a dynamic forum for people from many backgrounds and perspectives – including grassroots organizers, academic researchers, practitioners, local residents, students, funders, and policymakers -- to gather and share strategies and resources for using community-based, participatory research to address the most pressing issues facing their communities. This year’s theme:  “Building Healthy Communities: Overcoming the Social, Economic, and Environmental Barriers with Community-Based Research.”

We are looking for presenters and organizers of sessions who can highlight their own experiences, research, and concerns on the role of CBR in addressing the wide range of social, economic, and environmental issues that affect the quality of life and health in families and communities. We are especially interested in presenters who will focus on issues that contribute to the current disparities in health and health care that are related to race and income. Health-service researchers and community groups interested in health-services research are also invited to propose presentations. In promoting “healthy communities,” we seek a broad definition of that term – including, for example, issues related to environmental hazards, the strength of social and economic support networks within communities, prevention, mental health, and medical care.

If you are interested in making an individual presentation, or in organizing a group presentation or a how-to workshop, please contact Khan Rahi to discuss your proposal. We will need a suggested title, and an abstract or short summary (150 words) of your presentation or workshop. Presenters are asked to prepare an overview, and to identify critical CBR issues, any other participants you propose working with, and the impact and the lessons learned from your work. Deadline: May 20th. Presenters will be notified on or before May 24th. We look forward to hearing from you.


Khan S. Rahi, Loka’s Interim Coordinator and CRN Coordinator, at (416) 406-5517 or ksrahi@sympatico.ca; or the Loka Institute in Amherst, MA, at (413) 559-5860 or Loka@Loka.org


Community-based research (CBR)  is research conducted by, with, and for communities.  Through CBR, a broad range of residents and organizations can take part in identifying common problems and socio-economic inequities, and then dealing with them. By design, CBR is both democratic and ethically robust. In community-based research, the affected communities actively participate in every phase of the research process. The Community Research Network (CRN) reflects this commitment to diversity and democratic methods. The CRN includes a broad range of constituents, such as community residents, community-based researchers, practitioners, students, academics, policymakers, funders, grassroots organizers and representatives of other non-profit groups. Its members represent local, regional, national, and international initiatives.

This year’s conference will bring community members and community-based researchers who are working on social, economic, and environmental issues together with researchers and community groups who focus on health and health services. That will provide opportunities for strategizing how to use CBR to address the impact that a wide range of issues has on the quality of life and the health of communities, broadly defined, as well as on the health of individuals and on access to health services. Issues that can be related to health include, for example, poverty, housing, social and environmental justice, labor, transportation, education, food production and natural resources, youth development, and technology access. Presenters are encouraged to consider such issues, as well as the health impacts of factors such as race and ethnicity, gender, age, gay/lesbian/ bi-sexual/or transgendered orientation, education, physical disabilities, mental illness, the use of illicit drugs, and incarceration.

Two questions will be central to our conversations: What constitutes healthy communities? How can we use CBR both to help communities understand the social, economic, and environmental influences on health and to deliver the services that are needed for healthy individuals, neighborhoods and communities?

“Building Healthy Communities:  Overcoming the Social, Economic, and Environmental Barriers With CBR” aims to:

1. Strengthen the practice of community-based, participatory research in interdisciplinary fields dealing with health and its social determinants. Participants will share and develop best practices, innovative CBR research techniques, and effective CBR resources

2. Develop and disseminate information on the role that social, economic, and environmental factors play in health and health care.

3. Examine the role of community-based participatory research in building healthy communities and improving quality of life for everyday citizens.

4. Discuss and develop research strategies to identify the role and relationship of social, economic, and environmental factors in creating healthy communities.

5. Develop research strategies that address barriers to health services and to healthy communities.

6. Share tools for increasing the participation of hard-to-reach population groups in health-services research and delivery systems.

7. Encourage new partnerships and collaborations on CBR issues of mutual interest.

Participants will be invited to follow a modified version of a technique known as "open space technology." After scheduled presentations and workshops, they will group themselves in circles to probe more deeply specific issues that have been raised.  Some seminars have also been scheduled to focus on building the CRN at the local, regional, and international levels.

There are many other ways to share your knowledge and expertise.  Let us know, for example, if you are interested in planning how-to workshops on topics such as transferring skills in CBR, practical methods for training students, interesting the media, promoting CBR outcomes, or any other kind of hands-on session.



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