COVID-19 has highlighted health disparities consistently experienced by Black communities. However, disparities experienced by African immigrants are too often subsumed in data for all Black/African Americans. Several factors place African immigrants at greater risk of both acquiring coronavirus and experiencing severe symptoms or death: working high-contact jobs as essential or frontline workers, living in high-density housing, stigma, lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate information, and fears related to immigration status.
With the emergence of COVID-19, healthcare facilities suspended nonemergency, in-person interactions and switched to the use of virtual platforms to facilitate diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, and care management of a patient’s health. With African immigrants already experiencing barriers to accessing health care, engagement efforts being implemented using virtual platforms need to be culturally and linguistically appropriate and take into consideration technology access and literacy.
The team’s proposed project, Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Virtual Engagement Methods for African Immigrants, will build the PCOR/CER capacity of a cohort of African immigrant patient advocacy organizations across the United States. Vital to engaging populations that are underserved by healthcare systems is supporting the trusted sources that have the cultural knowledge, skills, and expertise to break down barriers.
The proposed project will document the experiences of African immigrant patients in accessing and using virtual platforms. It also will use an African-based cultural model to bring together stakeholders to develop practical recommendations for PCOR/CER engagement and information dissemination.
This is a national project led by two patient representatives who have personal and firsthand knowledge of patients’ needs and experiences: Chioma Nnaji, MPH, MEd, and Saida M. Abdi, PhD, LICSW. The leadership team will also consist of four ethnicity-based patient advocacy organizations and Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH).