Adapting research and outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic

Adapting research and outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic

In late March 2020, many research groups across the globe were challenged with either adapting data collection to the digital world or temporarily suspending their endeavors. The Institute’s Clinical Physiology and Chronobiology Program (CPCP) was no exception. In order to maintain efforts towards community outreach and prevention of disease, the CPCP transformed in-person interviews with Portland’s Black community to a series of virtual focus groups held between last April and May with a nationally-recruited sample of Black participants. To help inform study aims, recruitment and dissemination of findings, the CPCP obtained support from Portland’s PreSERVE Coalition.

PreSERVE is a group of community members and representatives from non-profits and health institutions supporting Black American memory and brain health through research collaborations and community organizing. While the aim of the focus group interviews was to explore healthcare experiences among Black Americans, our timing enabled us to collect meaningful data on potential barriers to successful COVID-19 treatment and prevention among Americans who may be oversampled due to their race. You can read more about our focus group findings and recommendations for optimized surveillance of COVID-19 viral transmission and spread in a recent publication. As protesting for Black Lives (and well-being) had not yet become a daily norm in Portland and other major cities, insights shared by our participants represented a snapshot of the perspectives of Black individuals during a particularly harrowing time. To allow our focus group findings to benefit local Black community members now and in the future, we have maintained our support for publicly-accessible lecture seminars and events such as PreSERVE’s Talk & Taste series, which is now held virtually. Past presentations covered a range of topics including sleep and cardiovascular health. The CPCP will continue dedication to the short- and long-term health and wellness of Black Americans, through ongoing research and community partnerships to better understand health disparities.

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Blog submitted by: Omar H. Ordaz-Johnson, B.S. Research Assistant II and Shelby L. Watkins, MPH Research Associate

 In order to maintain efforts towards community outreach and prevention of disease, the CPCP transformed in-person interviews with Portland’s Black community to a series of virtual focus groups held between last April and May with a nationally-recruited sample of Black participants. To help inform study aims, recruitment and dissemination of findings, the CPCP obtained support from Portland’s PreSERVE Coalition.

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