Background: Successful community-academic research partnerships require building the capacity of both community-based organizations (CBOs) and academics to conduct collaborative research of mutual interest and benefit. Yet, information about the needs and goals of researchinterested CBOs is lacking. Our partnership aimed to conduct a community research needs assessment and to use results to develop future capacity-building programs for CBOs. Methods: Based on our review of the literature, informal interviews with research-interested CBOs and communityengaged research groups locally and nationally, we developed a needs assessment survey. Key domains of this survey included history and experience with research collaboration, interest in specific research topics, and preference for learning format and structure. We trained community health workers (CHWs) to recruit senior leaders from CBOs in New York City (NYC) and encourage them to complete an on-line survey. Results: Fully 54% (33/61) of CBOs completed the needs assessment. Most (69%) reported involvement with research or evaluation in the last 2 years and 33% had some funding for research. Although 75% had collaborated with academic institutions in the past, 58% did not rate this experience well. The four areas respondents prioritized for skills building were program evaluation, developing needs assessments, building surveys, and understanding statistical analyses. They were less interested in learning to build collaborations with academics. Conclusions: A formal needs assessment of research training and educational needs of CBOs revealed that most had experience, albeit negative, with academic collaborations. CBO leaders wanted to build skills to conduct and analyze assessments and program evaluations. Our community-academic partnership is using these findings to develop a research capacity-building course. Other partnerships should consider conducting such assessments to transform the capacity of CBOs to be active research partners and leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • Capacity building
  • Community engagement
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Needs assessment


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