An academic-community partnership: building relationships and capacity to address childhood lead poisoning


Background: Although academic institutions are rich resources for improving public health, academic partnerships with community organizations can be challenging. We describe a successful academic–community partnership composed of the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Research Program, the Manchester (New Hampshire) Health Department, and the Greater Manchester Partners Against Lead Poisoning (GMPALP).

Objective: Partners collaborated to translate science and best practices into social action and policy change to address childhood lead poisoning.

Methods: Using the evolution of a childhood lead poisoning prevention initiative, we discuss how an academic–community relationship can be created and sustained.

Lessons Learned: Our experience demonstrates that broadbased partnerships are enhanced by the attributes of community-based participatory research (CBPR). We observe that engaging in community collaborations that are not driven by research eliminates potential conflicts for academic and community partners.

Conclusion: We identify four core values, namely, (1) adaptability, (2) consistency, (3) shared authority, and (4) trust, as being constructive when working in such partnerships.


Health Management and Policy

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Journal Title

Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action


Johns Hopkins University Press

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type



Copyright © 2009 The Johns Hopkins University Press