BC CBR Quarterly — CAHR 2018 Ancillary Event

The BC Community-Based Research (CBR) Quarterly Meetings (referred to as the CBR Quarterly Meetings hereon) is a community of practice that gathers three to four times a year to share learnings, challenges, and best practices related to CBR, evaluation, and knowledge translation/sharing initiatives. Meetings are organized by Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) staff, hosted by McLaren Housing Society, and attended by community members and researchers (including peers), community-based organizations, students, and academic researchers.

At the 2018 Canadian Association for HIV Research (CAHR) Conference, this diverse group held a demo, participant-observation CBR Quarterly Meeting as an ancillary event to inspire others to think about the value of peer work in research and the benefit of collaborative spaces in the uptake and integration of research findings into practice. The ultimate hope for this event was to excite others to consider modeling similar communities of practices in other regions of Canada.

So on the morning of April 26, a group of 21 participants gathered for this event. A background document outlining the history and timeline of the CBR Quarterly Meetings developed by PAN representatives was shared, demonstrating the impacts and accomplishments of this community of practice since its inception in 2010. Some of the high-level impacts shared included peer mentorship and support, networking, access to academics, capacity building, and collaborative brainstorming/problem-solving.

Peers of two CBR projects shared their experiences and perspectives, and it was incredible to document the positive impacts peer work has had on both the CBR projects and the Peer Research Associates (PRAs) themselves. PRAs from the SHAWNA Project highlighted building skills in various areas of research and meaningfully contributing to all stages of the project, while feeling well supported within their own team and also through the CBR Quarterly Meetings. Similarly, the team from the Oral History Project (that started with a community meeting, HIV in My Day: Reflecting Back, Looking Forward) emphasized the importance of embodying CBR principles from the beginning stages of CBR, allowing for a balance between academic and peer voices. PRAs from this project said they were honored to gather and listen to the stories of long-term survivors and caregivers of the early days of HIV/AIDS epidemic, and found this experience meaningful in terms of continuing to engage in the battle against HIV.

PAN staff used two CBR studies – Positive Living Positive Homes (PLPH) and The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index Project (Stigma Index) – to showcase how CBR findings can influence programming/future work and be mobilized into action. The PLPH peer knowledge translator shared how the study findings increased people’s awareness around the important link between HIV, health, and housing; provided evidence of various advocacy efforts by PAN and partner organizations; and are being translated into useful resources and tools for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and communities (including service providers). The Stigma Index peer knowledge translator shared how the project team is using the gaps identified to inform the project’s future directions (i.e. gathering qualitative data to complement its quantitative data), and how learnings from this BC project (the first in Canada) are now being shared with/informing the national project.

Following the usual format of the CBR Quarterly Meetings the meetings participants were provided with time to network and the AHA Centre and the Dr. Peter Centre exemplified project/program updates – providing a brief summary of the program and sharing one success, one challenge, and one lesson learned. Overall, the event was well-received by the participants, who shared that BC folks know how to make CBR fun and that they are excited and inspired to go do research. The agenda and minutes from this meeting can be found here.

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