The goal of CAIRHE’s Community Engagement Core is to foster and enhance tribal and non-tribal rural community partnerships across Montana that address health disparities through community engagement. Meeting this goal requires sustainable community collaborations, use of community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, training in those methods for investigators and communities, and innovative health communications that consider relevant cultural, linguistic, and literacy needs. Our communities are not research subjects; they are partners and collaborators, and our research is all the stronger for it.

CAIRHE and its partners rely on the expertise of a team of community-academic professionals who value the mutual goal of improved community health through engagement, dialogue, and collective problem-solving.



Emily Matt Salois, MSW

Community Research Associate
Susan Higgins

Susan Higgins, M.S.

Community Research Associate


“The shift from focusing on health disparities to health equity

research must be paralleled by a move from a community deficit model to one of capitalizing on the community's strengths and resources. This shift allows for the research to be conducted with an eye toward sustainable change, which requires input and buy-in from the local community. Creating a community feedback loop, in which the community participates in developing and implementing health equity interventions and sustaining the health improvement as a result of the interventions, is essential.”

Shobha Srinivasan, Ph.D., and Shanita D. Williams, Ph.D., MPH, APRN
"Transitioning from Health Disparities to a Health Equity Research Agenda: The Time Is Now"
Public Health Reports, Jan.-Feb. 2014; 129 (Suppl 2): 71–76.