This issue of Pimatisiwin (Pimatisiwin is a Plains Cree word meaning life) is dedicated to community-based participatory research (CBPR). It is very appropriate that this issue follows the recently released national Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. These guidelines specifically state that “communities should be given the option of a participatory-research approach” and that “research should be of benefit to the community as well as the researcher”. We are extremely honoured that Dr Meredith Minkler has written the Foreword together with Dr. Valarie Jernigan, a Native American scholar who is gaining a reputation for her excellent CBPR in the area of diabetes self management programs with Native Americans. She is currently on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stanford University School of Medicine and works with Dr Minkler. Dr Minkler is one of the leading experts in CBPR in North America, with years of professional research mentoring and experience. Her published articles describe both the CBPR process and her personal reactions to this experience. As co-editor of numerous books that guide practitioners of the CBPR approach, her work is a valuable resource for all researchers, including community partners. Hopefully the days of research “on” or “in” communities will soon be long gone.
The articles in this special issue came from a general call for papers and CBPR presentations at two conferences promoting community-university partnerships, including those with Aboriginal communities. The first conference was the 10th anniversary conference of the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health held in Toronto in April 2007. The second was the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute conference in Edmonton in September 2007, sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth, and Families, University of Alberta, where Dr. Minkler gave an inspiring key note address.
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