BACKGROUND: For 10 years, the Deep South Network for Cancer Control (DSNCC) focused on training and deploying community health advisors (CHAs) to promote cancer screening and healthy lifestyle through education/outreach activities. In 2009, the request for application (RFA) for renewal of the DSNCC required a controlled research intervention. Converting from education/outreach to research proved more problematic than expected. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this article was to describe the challenges and solutions during this conversion and to describe the importance of education/outreach to community infrastructure. METHODS: This is a qualitative assessment of the challenges and solutions encountered in conducting a controlled weight loss trial in a community setting in which education/outreach had been the priority. LESSON LEARNED: The DSNCC provides a model for overcoming the unique challenges of converting a longstanding education/outreach program into a controlled research program. CONCLUSION: Although multiple challenges were encountered in conducting a community-based participatory research (CBPR) controlled trial, solutions were developed and the trial continues as proposed.
Community Health Workers, Community Networks, Community-Based Participatory Research, Continental Population Groups, Early Detection of Cancer, Health Education, Humans, Minority Groups, National Cancer Institute (U.S.), Neoplasms, United States