A new commentary by Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco, James R. Watson and James Tavares published in September in Harm Reduction Journal provides learnings and recommendations for teams working with and supporting peer researchers (PRs).
This commentary discusses “implicit tasks” that PRs must undertake, in addition to the work that is laid out for them on paper: “disclosing their HIV positive status, engaging in emotional labour, and striving and advocating for meaningful involvement in their work” (p. 1 -2) The authors then discuss four forms of support that that they engage with in their own research work in order to support PRs and minimize harm: emotional and identity, instrumental, educational, and cultural/spiritual. Amongst each of these areas of support, this commentary offers practical recommendations and considerations for teams working with PRs; some examples include recommendations in approaches to training, considerations for embedding cultural and spiritual practices in a research approach, and processes to engage PRs in both planning and doing research.
Overall, this commentary is a helpful resource to teams that may be considering or are doing work with PRs. The authors acknowledge that though “CBR has become a very complex undertaking” (p. 4), working with PRs and, further, working to implement approaches in these four areas of support has myriad benefits – both to community-based research itself, and to the “self-determination, confidence, advocacy, and impact for PRAs” (p. 4)
Questions? Comments? Please contact Madeline Gallard, Community-Based Research Coordinator at [email protected].