Consumer-empowered Teams

Each research project has its own consumer-empowered team (or CET). 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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These independent living experts are helping shape our research procedures and products for R-5, "Center for Independent Living Services and Their Effect on Community Participation: Measuring CIL Services."

• Jason Beloungy, Independent Living Resources, La Crosse, WI

• Peggy Cosner and Tom Elmore, Heart of Central Texas ILC, Belton

• Ann Ford, Illinois Network for Centers for Independent Living, Springfield

• Rahnee Patrick, Access Living Chicago

• Virginia Harris and Julie Harrell, BAIN, Inc. Center for Independent Living, Bainbridge, GA

 Roger Frischenmeyer, Prairie Independent Living Resource Center, Hutchinson, KS