Striving to Provide Opportunities for Farm Worker Community Participation in Research

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Keifer, Matthew C.;
  • Crowe, Jennifer L.;
  • Salazar, Jennifer L.


Hispanic farm workers and their families in the U.S. face a number of environmental and occupational health risks, yet they are rarely given the opportunity to choose the focus of the research and interventions that take place in their communities. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) can be one effective approach to changing this situation. CBPR is an approach to research that makes community members partners in research rather than subjects of research. This article describes the experience of El Proyecto Bienestar (The Well-Being Project), a CBPR project in the Yakima Valley, Washington, with the aim of facilitating the Hispanic community's involvement in the identification and prioritization of occupational and environmental health issues among farm workers. The project utilized three forms of data collection (key informant interviews, community surveys, and a town hall meeting) to create a list of environmental and occupational health issues of concern. Investigators strove to provide opportunities for community participation in the various stages of research: study concept and design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions, and dissemination of results. This article describes the involvement that community members had at each stage of the three forms of data collection and outlines the basic findings that led the Community Advisory Board to prioritize four areas for future work. In addition, it describes the challenges the project faced from the researcher perspective. Using examples from this experience, we conclude that this model may be an effective way for farm workers and their families to have a voice in prioritizing health and safety issues for research and action in their communities.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Access this publication at: ASABE Technical Library

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