Consumer-Empowered Teams

reading braileIn addition to consumer representatives on our advisory panel, each interventional research project will have its own consumer-empowered team (or CET). We are committed to involving consumers so that our research is relevant to the lives of people with disabilities. 

This approach to independent living research is described below:

"The consumer-empowered team, hereafter referred to as 'the team,' consists of consumer-consultants, advocate leaders, project independent living experts, and researchers. The composition and design of the team is intended to produce project outcomes that are synergistic and mutually beneficial for participants and researchers. The team is more proximal to research activities compared to the usual consumer advisory board structure. Typically, advisory boards offer consultation at the start of a project and are then presented results after the project is finished.

"The purpose of the team is to solicit consumer input throughout the research process. The team composition varies depending upon each project’s aims and goals. Team members may be recruited locally, regionally, and nationally. Consultations may range from interviewing key informants regarding policy issues or problems to developing contracts with subject matter experts to assist in producing specific research or training materials. The team is not a ‘one size fits all” approach. Rather, each project assembles its own team based on the particular project needs, goals, and intended outcomes.

"Team members' perspectives help identify critical considerations of the proposed research. For example, team members frame the research issue from a consumer viewpoint, identify possible root causes for why the problem occurs, under what conditions, and with what consequences." 

White, G.W., Nary, D.E., & Froehlich, A.K. (2001). Consumers as collaborators in research and action. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community. 21(2), 15-34. 

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