Project Summary

Background: COVID-19-related disparities in the United States reflect race and income inequalities that promote other known health disparities among Blacks. Despite the high number of COVID-19 cases in this population, there is little research and a lack of community engagement strategies on effective COVID-19 education, prevention, testing, tracing, quarantine, and treatment. Partnerships need to be built to overcome historic distrust and under-investment. The Black Health Initiative (BHI) will urgently address COVID-19 and develop stakeholder partnerships and engaged research focused on the Black population in San Francisco.

Solution: BHI builds institutional and community capacity for engagement and shared dissemination by bringing together patient and community stakeholders, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). BHI builds upon the PCORI-funded ASPIRE program to enhance:

  • The coordination of UCSF efforts addressing Black health disparities
  • Patient- and community-engaged research in SF's Black community
  • Bidirectional data dissemination between communities
  • Restorative engagement, truth and reconciliation, and ongoing nontransactional relationships

Objectives Include:

  • Convening patient, community, public health, and UCSF stakeholders
  • Using culturally tailored, patient-centered community engagement and planning to inform research and response to COVID-19 and other disparities in the Black community
  • Communicating COVID-19 science and medicine in a two-way dissemination process with the Black community
  • Facilitating COVID-19 and comorbid research in the Black community

Main Methods Include:

  • The creation of BHI by patients; community and DPH leaders; and UCSF researchers, clinicians, and community engagement leaders
  • Enhancing community engagement with the ASPIRE Assessment Plan, virtual meetings for restorative engagement, healing and wellness, and surveys and focus groups
  • The two-way dissemination of COVID-19 science with a street team model of training volunteers to distribute COVID-19 information, hosting virtual Q&A stakeholder town halls, hosting community-based webinars, and the use of local media
  • Reviewing research involving the Black community

Outcomes: Include regular board and community meetings, surveys and focus groups, virtual gatherings for restorative engagement, joint webinars, virtual town halls, local media coverage, COVID-19 research dissemination, research review.

Engagement: Patients and stakeholders will be identified via ASPIRE’s network and a Black community council. BHI will be structured similarly to ASPIRE with patients, DPH leaders, UCSF researchers, clinicians, and community engagement leaders. All partners help develop and lead BHI. Board members and stakeholders will engage via regular meetings, webinars, town halls, and restorative activities. Evaluation will be done via pre and post focus groups of board and nonboard participants, and surveys. All BHI stakeholders will be compensated.

Collaborators Include: Patient stakeholders, community stakeholders and community partners including the Rafiki Coalition, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and UCSF.

Project Information

Malcolm John, MD, MPH
The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco

Key Dates

12 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: November 10, 2022