Background: COVID-19 has brought to light the longstanding systemic and structural racism that drives poor health outcomes in Black communities nationwide. There is mounting evidence of profound racial disparities in COVID-19 cases and outcomes where 1 in 1,450 Black Americans compared to 1 in 3,350 white Americans are dying from COVID-19. When adjusted for age, Blacks are 3.8 times more likely to die from COVID -19 than their white counterparts. As noted by the APM Research Lab, if Black Americans died at the same rates as white Americans, 16,000 Black Americans would still be alive today. There is compelling evidence that Black Americans receive lower-quality health care, experience racial bias in clinical encounters, and more frequently report poor communication with providers.
Solution: Given the very nature of a pandemic such as COVID-19, racial inequities are magnified, become front and center, and present an opportunity to develop innovative solutions that stem from intentional engagement of Black stakeholders. Understanding the social contextual factors that contribute to disparities for the population and strategies to address them within the population and community will yield meaningful, sustainable, and culturally relevant future interventions.
Objectives: The overall goal of this engagement award is to identify research questions, shaped by beliefs, values, and preferences, that address patient-centered outcomes that are most important to Black Americans.
Activities: Through town halls, PCOR training workshops, and focus groups, the project team will convene its longstanding community partners, including patients, caregivers, community-based organizations, faith and civic organizations, and beauty industry leaders to co-create a network of community members and academicians trained in PCOR research methods. This network will be prepared and activated to collaborate in PCOR and CER, addressing priorities, values, and preferences related to COVID-19 outcomes that matter to the Black community. In addition, given challenges the Black community experiences in receiving trustworthy, accurate, and timely information related to COVID-19, the network will establish guidelines and processes for disseminating relevant COVID-19 health information, PCOR outcomes, and priorities to the broader community.
Outcomes and Impact: While the work will focus on COVID-19, the products will be broadly generalizable in addressing health inequities beyond the pandemic. The outcomes of this process will lead to PCOR priorities developed by the Black community, guidelines for information dissemination through trusted and reliable community outlets, and community-academic partnerships trained and prepared to engage in PCOR research based on the priorities derived from the Black community.
Collaborators: The team will engage with its extensive network of community partners such as Community Health Coalition, Durham Department of Public Health, North Carolina Central University, beauty industry partners, and established community advisory councils across the team’s programs of research.
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Project Resource: Focus Group Report COVID-19 Priority Populations