Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a collaborative process between community-based organizations and academic investigators. It has the potential to make research more responsive to existing needs and to enhance a community’s ability to address important health issues. But CBPR is often unfamiliar territory to academic investigators and community organizations alike. We interviewed CBPR investigators at Penn and community leaders to ascertain best practices in CBPR and to compare academic and community perspectives. A number of models of community-academic partnerships emerged, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The perspectives of the investigators sometimes matched those of the community leaders, but diverged in important ways.