Document Type

Article

Abstract

Preventing cancer, downstaging disease at diagnosis, and reducing mortality require that relevant research findings be translated across scientific disciplines and into clinical and public health practice. Interdisciplinary research focuses on using the languages of different scientific disciplines to share techniques and philosophical perspectives to enhance discovery and development of innovations; (i.e., from the “left end” of the research continuum). Community-based participatory research (CBPR), whose relevance often is relegated to the “right end” (i.e., delivery and dissemination) of the research continuum, represents an important means for understanding how many cancers are caused as well as for ensuring that basic science research findings affect cancer outcomes in materially important ways. Effective interdisciplinary research and CBPR both require an ability to communicate effectively across groups that often start out neither understanding each other’s worldviews nor even speaking the same language. Both demand an ability and willingness to treat individuals from other communities with respect and understanding. We describe the similarities between CBPR and both translational and interdisciplinary research, and then illustrate our points using squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus as an example of how to deepen understanding and increase relevance by applying techniques of CBPR and interdisciplinary engagement.

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