Project Summary

Background: This award will build capacity to support the pandemic’s “unsung heroes,” frontline essential food service workers. Food service workers have experienced greater viral exposure and been more likely to have adverse COVID-19 outcomes. They were hit hard in New Orleans, which had high case counts and the worst mortality per capita early on. Food service workers and their families face three problems: 
• Louisiana’s vaccination rates are extremely low, and stakeholders have pled for more support surrounding family vaccine decision making. 
• The pandemic has depleted the mental health of food service workers and their families. 
• Many food service workers have suffered the long-term effects of post-acute COVID-19 (long COVID).
Proposed Solution to the Problem: The project team’s solution is to develop capacity to conduct PCOR/CER studies targeting family vaccine decision making, mental health, and long COVID. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, the team devised its project plan using an adaptive strategy—Scenario Planning—that will allow it to prioritize the relative emphasis of topics, outcomes, and interventions based on four plausible pandemic scenarios.
• Organize a multi-stakeholder collaborative focused on PCOR/CER to benefit food service workers and their families 
• Engage stakeholders to identify PCOR/CER priorities related to family vaccine decision making, mental health, and long COVID 
• Develop a strategic plan to sustain PCOR/CER in support of food service workers and their families over the long term
Activities: This award will build capacity for future research to support food service workers in addressing family vaccine decision making, mental health, and long COVID-19. The team will develop and empower a multi-stakeholder steering committee, implement training activities in PCOR/CER, conduct iterative topic prioritization activities, and develop capacity surrounding communication and dissemination.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: The team will develop a multi-stakeholder collaborative, identify community-centered PCOR/CER research topics, and develop a strategic plan. Key outputs and deliverables include developing a project website, organizing the steering committee, holding four trainings and five topic prioritization activities, producing three tools, and disseminating project findings. The tools include a Pandemic Scenario Planning Guidebook, a COVID-19-Specific PCOR/CER Primer, and a Sustainability Roadmap Toolkit, which will ensure the project benefits the broader PCOR community. Post-award, the team will apply for funding to conduct PCOR/CER studies to benefit food service workers. In the long term, the team will operate an enduring, funded research collaborative to benefit this population and model practices that inform the PCOR community.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Stakeholders span frontline essential food service workers, families, industry executives, and childhood school partners. They have engaged in the project proposal via Scenario Planning, sharing stories, providing feedback on the application, and writing letters of support. The stakeholder population will serve on the project steering committee, engage in research training and topic prioritization, and support the dissemination, implementation, and long-term sustainability of this work.
Project Collaborators: The project spans Tulane University, the Louisiana Public Health Institute, and stakeholder representatives.

Project Information

Michael Hoerger, PhD, MSCR
Courtney Baker, PhD
Tulane University of Louisiana

Key Dates

18 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022