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To assess researchers’ experiences working with community advisory boards (CABs) and perceptions of how community member stakeholder feedback impacted the research.
Individual interviews were conducted with researchers (n= 34) who had presented their research to a Mayo Clinic CAB (at MN, AZ, or FL) from 2014 to 2017, with an average interview duration of 10–15 min. Researchers were asked “In what ways did the feedback you received from the CAB influence your research?” A validated, structured, 7-item interview was used to assess domains of the potential influence that CABs had on the research: (1) pre-research (e.g., generated ideas), (2) infrastructure (e.g., budget preparation), (3) research design, (4) implementation (e.g., research recruitment), (5) analysis, (6) dissemination, and (7) post-research. A total mean score was calculated with a possible range of 0–7. In addition, open-ended examples and feedback from researchers in response to each domain were summarized for themes using content analysis.
Researchers reported that the CAB influenced research in the following domains: pre-research (24%), infrastructure (24%), study design (41%), implementation (41%), analysis (6%), dissemination (24%), and post-research activities (18%). The mean total score was = 1.8 (SD = 1.7, range: 0–6). Open-ended responses revealed major themes of CAB helpfulness in generating/refining ideas, identifying community partners, culturally tailored and targeted recruitment strategies, intervention design and delivery, and dissemination.
Findings from this preliminary evaluation indicate that despite positive experiences noted in open-ended feedback, the perceived quantitative impact of CAB feedback on the research was moderate. Bidirectional communication between researchers and community member stakeholders has the potential to make clinical and translational research more relevant and appropriate.
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