COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, locally, nationally, and worldwide. In the United States, the consequences of closures and quarantine increased stress, worry, isolation, mental health and substance use problems. These issues were exacerbated among Black and Latinx populations. The disproportionate burden on communities of color were heightened by language barriers, shortage of mental health providers, lack of mental health access, distrust in the health care system, and inadequate or lack of health insurance coverage.
This engagement award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is centered on the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on communities of color. The study’s main aims are to engage and connect with Black and Latinx populations in King and Snohomish Counties, including networks of community stakeholders, providers, and researchers to co-learn about patient-centered research; and to build partnerships with those that work with the communities. It is imperative that we partner with community members with lived experiences in order to learn and prioritize their health care needs.
Although the pandemic created catastrophic results, this collaborative project however helps to create an opportunity for community members, leaders, healthcare providers, researchers, and other stakeholders to come together to learn from one another and to give voice to issues that affect underserved communities. For example, some issues such as health care access, health insurance, and mental health concerns that arose from COVID-19 and their lingering effects continue to be of great burden for communities of color. Additionally, the participants will learn about basic research principles to prioritize and address mental health issues of concern.
The project lead and Principal Investigator for this patient-centered outcomes research is Dr. Hoa Appel, and the co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Mabel Ezeonwu. The community collaborators include Crystal Brown from Cultivate South Park, Rosario Reyes from the Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI), John Agyapong from NAACP, and Summer Starr from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
If you’d like to learn more about the study or to participate, please visit https://communitybehavioralhealth.wordpress.com/ .