**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) volume 16.2. All rights reserved.**
Background: Community based participatory research (CBPR) is effective in addressing health disparities. Lack of inclusion of vulnerable populations in research perpetuates systemic inequities. Community-academic partnership must represent the voices and experiences of marginalized populations.
Objective: To inform future research by sharing lessons learned from community-academic partnerships among three distinct vulnerable populations: Arab youth, Black girls and women, and sex workers.
Methods: Community based participatory researchers use reflexivity to identify and describe lessons learned when working with three vulnerable populations.
Lessons learned: Lessons learned focus on power sharing and community partnership which facilitated CBPR. We also describe how institutional roadblocks such as tenure and promotion timelines, institutional review board approval and erasure, stigmatization, and funding impede CBPR.
Conclusions: These lessons provide insight for future researchers to consider as they aim to develop strong and equitable community partnerships. Power sharing is required to maintain equitable community partnerships. Balancing community needs with academic expectations is essential to sustain funding. Emphasizing cultural safety and collaboration can address institutional roadblocks.