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QuickStart Program

Community-partnered participatory research that addresses questions about how communities are impacted by breast cancer.

QuickStart 2019

The California Breast Cancer Research Program, Commonweal, the Orange County Asian and Pacificic Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA), and the and Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) invite you to apply to QuickStart, an innovative three-month program that supports community-academic teams in conducting community-partnered participatory research (CPPR) related to breast cancer and tobacco related disease. This is a rare opportunity to get technical assistance directly from a potential funder on a research proposal that you develop over the course of the program. Participants will be able to build their partnership and workshop a research idea through in-person and online sessions, written assignments and a mock review of a draft grant proposal. QuickStart participants have a competitive edge when submitting research proposals.  

Participants who complete all elements of the program will receive written and verbal feedback from an expert review committee on a draft application in time to revise and apply for the Community Research Collaboration awards in 2020 (CBCRP), applicable TRDRP mechanisms (2020), as well as other funders.

Watch the video below to learn more about QuickStart.


And join us for a webinar about the program. Webinar will take place on January 15, 2019 at 2:30 PM. Click here to register for webinar.

Applications for QuickStart 2019 now being accepted

We are allowing newly forming and established community-academic research teams to apply. If you are an individual community representative or scientists interested in the program but do not yet have a partner, please apply by our early deadline and our team will assist you in finding potential partners.

Priority is given to people based in California. However individuals and teams outside of California will be considered as space allows.

QuickStart is offered free of charge and includes tuition, overnight accommodations for out of town participants, all meals during in-person sessions and transportation for all participants in California.

Download the full call for applications

Application deadline for individuals looking for a partner: January 23, 2019

Application deadline for new and existing teams: March 15, 2019. We are offering rolling admission this year.

Early application is encouraged for everyone.

Please email us at with any questions.

At the end of QuickStart CBPR teams will have:

  • Experience working with their potential research partner.
  • Partnership agreements that can strengthen a research proposal.
  • A concept paper that serves as the foundation for a full proposal.
  • The option to witness an expert review of their full draft proposal. Teams who take this step will be prepared to submit a proposal to California Breast Cancer Research Program’s Community Research Collaborations (CRC) award program, applicable TRDRP mechanisms (2020), and other funding sources.

Benefits of QuickStart:

  • Scientists can improve chances of funding by showing strong stakeholder support, maximize the translation and dissemination potential of their research and improve the chances of contributing to changes in policy and practices.
  • Community members will build their organization’s capacity, improve credibility for their work, develop new skills, access a new funding stream and have data to support changes in policies or practices.
  • All participants broaden their knowledge of the connection between breast cancer, environmental exposures and health disparities.

Who is eligible to apply?

Teams and individuals are welcome to apply, though preference will be given to new or existing teams. See below for specifics for each category.

All participants, whether in a team or participating as an individual must:

  • be interested in tobacco related disease or breast cancer; including disparities, environmental causes, or prevention in relation to tobacco-related disease or breast cancer 
  • be able to participate in all face-to-face and online sessions,
  • have access to computers throughout the entire program,
  • be interested in conducting research, including submitting grant proposals for research funding,
  • agree to submit a draft research plan for review, and
  • be willing to participate fully in the program, including sharing research ideas, plans, and draft plans with program staff, teachers, and other participants.

Time commitment:

  • Two two-day face-to-face training sessions, plus one opening dinner session (50 hours total)
  • Online weekly assignments before and after face-to-face training sessions. Assignments include literature reviews, developing draft research questions, writing concept papers, participating in educational webinars and others. (Approximately 10 hours of educational sessions plus written assignments)
  • Four technical assistance calls to give teams feedback on potential research questions, methodologies, partnership development and concept papers. (4 hours)

When will the program take place?

The full QuickStart program is scheduled for May 2019–November 2019. Key dates include:

  • Online Sessions: Ongoing, May through July
  • Face-to-face meeting: May 29 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM, May 30 & 31, 2019; 8:00 AM - 8:30 PM both days. Tentatively planned for Southern CA.
  • Face-to-face meeting: July 11 & 12. 8:00 AM - 8:30 PM both days. Tentatively planned Berkeley, CA.
  • Concept proposals due: September 4, 2019
  • Technical Assistance calls: Four rounds of calls will take place between face to face sessions, after the second face to face session, after concept proposals are submitted and after an optional mock review of the draft proposals

Optional Activities:

  • Draft CRC application for mock review due: November 14, 2019 (tentative)
  • Mock review of applications: January 2020 (tentative)

On January 19, 2017 a webinar on the QuickStart Program was held.  

Access a recording of the webinar here.

Access slides from the webinar here.

Please email us at with any questions.

Testimonials from past participants

In 2012, CBCRP, Commonweal and Plumbline offered the CRIBS training, which serves as the foundation for the QuickStart training. We covered similar content and had the same goals, though the training was spread out over five months. Here is what some of our past participants have to say about their experience.

Being an experienced CBPR investigator, I went into the training with the expectation that I would get to know a new community partner, but I did not expect that I would learn a lot of new information on CBPR. I must say, I derived much more benefit from the training than I expected. The academic presentations were excellent. The face to face meetings helped me to gain a much better understanding of the point of view of my community partners and established a level of trust and understanding that has helped our collaboration tremendously. The group sessions helped us to think through critical content of our proposal and the team-specific phone consultations with experienced staff and investigators from CBCRP, the Commonweal and Plumbline Coaching helped us to refine our specific aims and to write a winning proposal. The mock review was of special value for my community partners, who had never experienced the review process. We are now looking forward to get started with a pilot study that our team received after the completion of the training, that will assess benzene in the outdoor area and promote environmental justice in Wilmington, California. Overall, the training provided an excellent combination of scientific content and team building exercises– two necessary components to stimulating CBPR research.
-Annette Maxwell, Dr.P.H., Professor, UCLA, Center for Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Fielding School of Public Health and Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

The CRIBS training was an invaluable and career-changing experience for me as it brought the value of what I do on a daily basis to another level. By pairing me with a researcher, and fostering a working relationship based on common goals, my work is now put into a larger global context. I assist Latinas in my community, an underserved population, which is rewarding and inspiring work that I enjoy. And now, we are able to effectively gather participants for a study that will add to a body of literature where previously there was a scarcity. The project has seemed to go seamlessly, and I have especially enjoyed working with my research partner who adds a dimension to my work that I find encouraging. The participants, board members, coworkers, and community seem to be as excited as we are. I think that means we are on the right track!
-Carla Gomez, LCSW, Outreach Coordinator, “Campaña de Senos Saludables,” Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Santa Cruz

I was a participant in the inaugural CRIBS training. The CBCRP, Commonweal and Plumbline designed and implemented an excellent training on CBPR and our team learned a lot about creating and sustaining teams, the latest science in the environment, disparities and breast cancer and writing grant applications. I am excited to share our team was one of the groups that received an award to conduct a pilot study. Without the intense hands on training it is highly unlikely we would have created such an outstanding proposal. Based on the reviewer's scores and feedback our group reviewed the highest score and the comments are very favorable. Our team the Inland Empire African American Wellness Collaborative (IEAAWC) will conduct an 18 month study “Is the Cost of Beauty Putting Black Women at Risk”, The IEAAWC Hair and Health Study. Since African American /Black (AA/B) women use hair products such as relaxers at higher rates, use products that contain more hormones and placenta than white women, and may begin a lifelong hair regimen of straightening product use as toddlers, it has been suggested that some of the observed Breast Cancer (BC) risk in AA/B women may be related to their exposure to these products. The goal for our pilot study is to explore the potential role of hair product use in BC etiology in local AA/B women. The training I received in the CRIBS program is priceless and prepared me to help create a proposal that got funded.
-Phyllis Y. Clark, CEO, Healthy Heritage Movement

We had the great honor of being selected to participate in the first CRIBS training program... Through this program, we established a new partnership with epidemiologists at Cancer Prevention Institute of California and UNR, who joined us in the CRIBS trainings. The project that emerged from this partnership, a first-ever human health study in the Sierra foothills examining exposure to mining contaminants of women residing in a gold mining-impacted community, was subsequently funded by California Breast Cancer Research Program and is now in progress.

CRIBS provided a remarkable opportunity to become immersed in the emerging field of community-based participatory research as well as the latest in breast cancer research. With presentations by a wide range of experts, and an extraordinary level of individual coaching and mentorship, we were able to acquire the skills and confidence to undertake scientific research as equal partners. As a community-based non-profit watershed science organization, we were able to bring to the partnership our many years of environmental data and our intimate knowledge of our community and its concerns. Our project was the first ever CBCRP-funded project to be led by the community partner. The resulting project has the potential to add considerably to the existing body of knowledge regarding human health impacts from historic mining, and would not have been possible without the wealth of resources and networking opportunities provided by CRIBS.

We should add that we were thoroughly spoiled with wonderful hospitality, great food, much laughter, and a warmly supportive atmosphere. We recommend this program in the strongest terms as an opportunity not to be missed for any community organization looking to contribute their expertise to the field of breast cancer research.
-Joanne Hild and Jane Sellen, Sierra Streams Institute

The QuickStart program is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25CA188482 and is being refined and implemented by California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP), Commonweal and Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA), and the Tobacco Related Disease Research Program. The content is solely the responsibility of the trainers and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.