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The following four cornerstone principles are the foundation of the Institute's projects and programs:

Collaboration and Partnership
Building partnerships is a fundamental goal of the work of ICR and key to our success. All of our projects begin "from the ground up"; we work with and identify community residents or community-based organizations that are concerned about a common issue. This is the basis of our partnerships. We then identify other organizations and individuals that would enhance the project and partnership. Working with our partners ensures that the project accesses information, knowledge and experience of community residents. At the same time, the partnership process builds the community's capacity to address the current and future issues we all face. Our partners include informal community groups and associations, service providers, research institutes, community-based and other non-governmental organizations, hospitals and schools, local and state agencies, public housing, museums and cultural centers, universities, ethnic and national groups, funders and the media.

Action Research

ICR uses a framework of action research in the development of all its projects. The emphasis is on the participation of community members who are committed to the collection of information and a common outcome. Our work is also built on a strong commitment to action; our research results in benefits to individuals, groups, communities and institutions. Action research brings our community partners into the research process, incorporating their needs, ideas and vision from the project's inception. It is flexible, accessible and participatory, making it possible to include everyone from children to the elderly in the research design, collection of data, analysis and use of results. Action research allows ICR and our partners to think critically and creatively for community and social improvement, to develop skills for defining problems, and to work collaboratively to gather and use information from diverse perspectives.

Recognizing the Value of Culture
ICR is committed to recognizing, understanding and integrating all aspects of culture into our projects and programs. Further, we recognize that if we are going to successfully address the changing needs of diverse populations, it is necessary to address structural inequities related to race, ethnicity, power, gender, language, class, ability and age in the project's development and implementation. We apply these principles to our organization in our commitment to ensure the inclusion of individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives on our staff and among our partners. We create opportunities throughout our projects for culture to be reflected through visual arts, stories, performances, music, and culturally targeted interventions.

Intervention, Health Promotion and Prevention
Building effective prevention and intervention models that positively change people's attitudes and behaviors can have a significant impact on community improvement. Working "from the ground up" with community residents and partners, we use our research results to design innovative prevention and intervention models. As our interventions are developed, we work with individuals who would benefit by the program to ensure that the model integrates a culturally sensitive and appropriate evaluation. In this way, we incorporate the above three principles in our prevention work. Our models use a critical "ecological" perspective; the intervention is designed to work within the full context of people's lives, at the individual, family, peer group, school and community levels. We also emphasize skills development, the arts, and empowerment and advocacy. ICR's exemplary research and demonstration projects have been recognized as national models and have served as the framework for programs in communities throughout the U.S. and around the world.

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