Lessons learned in implementing youth and parent participatory action research in a school-based intervention

April K. Wilhelm, Shannon Pergament, Alainna Cavin, Nicole Bates, Mikow Hang, Luis E. Ortega, Martha Bigelow, Michele L. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Participatory action research (PAR) empowers youth and parent stakeholders to address school connectedness and school environment inequities to improve educational social determinants of health. Objectives: To identify lessons learned when implementing school-based youth and parent PAR (YPAR and PPAR) targeting health and academic outcomes for Indigenous students and students of color. Methods: We collected data from five community-academic research team members who coordinated YPAR and PPAR implementation across five middle and high schools and used thematic analysis with deductive and inductive coding to identify contributors to successful PAR implementation. Results: Experiential learning strengthened youth and parent researcher skills and maintained their engagement, community-building supported the PAR process, PAR required support from facilitators with diverse skill sets, and individuals in bridging roles positioned researchers for suc-cess within institutions. Conclusions: PAR holds promise for application in other settings to address institutional change and social determinants of health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-36
Number of pages22
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) grant number R01MD010586 (PI: Allen). In addition, AW’s time on this project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under National Research Service Award in Primary Medical Care grant number T32HP22239 (PI: Borowsky), Bureau of Health Workforce. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by NIMHD, HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Johns Hopkins University Press.


  • Community Health Partnerships
  • Education
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Determinants of Health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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