Background: COVID-19 has hit Native communities harder than many others, resulting in infection rates 3.5 times higher than non-Hispanic whites, and hospitalization and mortality rates 4 times higher. The project team has developed culturally appropriate educational materials and collected information on beliefs and behaviors surrounding COVID-19 and are developing an online database of resources for tribal communities for future planning.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: The project team proposes two community activities targeting loneliness and loss, lasting effects of the pandemic on Native communities, and ways to move forward through activism and engagement with researchers using patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR)/comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). The proposed activities will take place around the US, including the Plains, Southwest, Northeast, and Southeast regions.
Objectives: The project’s goal is improved pandemic preparedness of Native communities through community-led activism and engagement with researchers. The project targets four specific aims:
(1) Collect information about COVID-19’s impact, focusing on social isolation, cultural impact, and the need for engagement with PCOR/CER researchers
(2) Create a social media campaign focused on COVID-19’s impact on Indian Country and the need to end disparities through PCOR/CER
(3) Create community working groups to address COVID-19
(4) Create community programming to raise awareness of the need for PCOR/CER to address health disparities
Activities: The project’s first activity focuses on understanding the COVID-19 experience of Native people through community conversations and surveys, leading to working groups as the second activity. Working groups will create programming to positively impact their community while encouraging people to participate in PCOR/CER research.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: At the end of the project period, the project team will have a social media campaign leading to a long-term health social media presence, 20 community activist activities surrounding health and PCOR/CER, information about the experience of Native people during the pandemic, and continuing and new PCOR/CER partnerships to help end health disparities.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The project will involve community stakeholders in four ways:
1) As primary members of the research team and Community Advisory Board
2) As research ambassadors leading community conversations and working groups
3) As community conversation participants and working group members
4) As constituents to whom interim and final results are disseminated
Project Collaborators: This project is led by the Institute for Indigenous Studies at Lehigh University, the primary academic partner for the American Indian Health Research & Education Alliance (AIHREA). The alliance’s primary non-profit partner is AIHREA, Inc., who provides all social media sites and community engagement infrastructure.