Rapid Response Grant to Reduce Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare

Purpose

This grant mechanism will fund small scalable projects directly impacting the health of our community by reducing the effects of structural and systemic racism, reducing health disparities, improving access to health care, or addressing gaps in healthcare in non-majority community members. Priority areas are mental health in people of all ages, testing and care of those affected by COVID-19 pandemic, projects based within the community, and projects that are collaborative and informed by the communities they affect.

Funded Grants

Communicating about Racism with Black Adolescents

PI/Dept:

Brooke Cunningham, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis): 

Adolescent medicine providers do not routinely assess adolescents’ exposure to racism as a part of routine clinical care. Multiple stakeholders are now calling for health care providers to develop strategies to counter racism’s deleterious effects on health. Providers who initiate conversations about racism could provide support for black parents/caregivers who have “the talk” about racism with their children in order to literally save their lives. We aim to identify (1) adolescent (ages 10-17) and parent/caregiver preferences related to addressing racism as a health risk factor as a part of well-child visits and (2) providers’ readiness to do so, i.e., whether providers want and feel adequately prepared to discuss racism. This project complements ongoing research with Black adults and resident-physicians about discussing racism as means to ultimately improve cardiovascular health outcomes.

An assessment of COVID-19 risk factors leading to overwhelming health disparities among Latinx communities in Minnesota

PI/Dept:

Janna Gewirtz O'Brien, MD, Adolescent Medicine Fellow (Faculty Mentor: Annie-Laurie McRee, DrPH), Department of Pediatrics

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis): 

Though the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a significant toll on adolescents from culturally diverse communities, little is known about their unique health needs and how to meet them during this time. The pandemic could magnify existing inequities in health, especially when responses do not intentionally apply an equity lens. Telemedicine has rapidly expanded and could represent one mechanism to expand equitable access to healthcare. However, the field of adolescent telemedicine is still emerging, and clinical best practice regarding how to meet the needs of culturally diverse communities is not yet well established. The proposed quality improvement (QI) project seeks to, first, describe the health needs of culturally diverse adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and assess adolescent and parent perspectives about the use of telemedicine to address these needs, and, then, to develop recommendations for optimizing adolescent telemedicine to promote health equity.

Improving Access to Care Through Mobile Health Technology

PI/Dept:

David Haynes, PhD, Assistant Professor, Institute for Health Informatics

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis):

Implementing a free mobile Health Information Technology to empower individuals to manage health care and social needs with participating community-based organizations will 1) strengthen the eco-system of clinics and community-based organizations that underrepresented populations rely on to access to health care and 2) curtail the erosion of trust between minority populations and public institutions.

Measuring Organizational Justice in the Health Professions

PI/Dept:

Mumtaz (Taj) Mustapha, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis): 

Gender and racial disparities in academic medicine are well-documented, and residency training is the time of greatest attrition from academia for women and minorities. There is little research into what aspects of the training environment are contributing to this attrition. Research in sociology and business show that an employee’s perception of bias combined with a lack of institutional support for mitigating that bias (i.e. a lack of “organizational justice,” or fairness) leads to loss of morale, poor job performance, and attrition. Exploring perceptions of organizational justice may help both shed light on reasons for attrition while also pointing to possible solutions. Traditional measurement tools for organizational justice emerged from corporate workplaces where work-teams are relatively stable. Work-teams in academic medicine are fluid by design. Therefore, existing organizational justice instruments cannot adequately capture perceptions of organizational justice in medicine.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing in the Somali Community

PI/Dept:

Rebekah Pratt, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis):

Contact tracing begins with engaging communities about the disease, how to protect individuals and their families, and how to suppress transmission. Contact tracing requires individuals to agree to daily monitoring, to be willing to report signs or symptoms of COVID-19 promptly, and to be prepared to go into quarantine for at least 14 days or isolate if they become symptomatic. Current contract tracing efforts lack accessibility and education for individuals where English is not their native language. This proposal is targeting at addressing this health disparity by reaching out to Somali speakers in their native language and providing resources related to testing positive for COVID-19, like, checking in on health status changes as it relates to the disease, encouraging people or high-risk commodities to get tested. Additionally, the project will work to demystify the stigma associated with testing, transmission and feelings about COVID-19.

An Exploration of the Potential Impact of Implicit Bias on COVID-19 Mortality Disparities Among African Americans

PI/Dept:

Jason Ricco, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis):

We are faced with staggering data on the racial disparities in mortality among patients suffering from COVID-19 in the United States. African American or Black persons contract SARS-CoV-2 at higher rates, and are significantly more likely to die from the disease. Much has been postulated about the underlying effects of preexisting chronic disease disparities among Black patients as a cause for the mortality disparity, and there is no doubt that these disparities are related to systemic inequities and social determinants in the United States. However, it cannot be assumed that this explains the disparities in COVID-19 mortality alone. Little is known about the role of implicit bias among providers and health care teams in regards to the acute care for Black and minority patients infected with COVID-19. We will attempt to explore this by measuring the impact of race on COVID-19 mortality rates while controlling for underlying health conditions and various social determinants of health.

Ecological Momentary Assessment and Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: SupDoc Pilot Study

PI/Dept:

Christopher Warlick, MD, PhD, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Urology

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis):

Alcohol consumption remains a major cause of public health problems, including suicide, cirrhosis, and several cancers. People who suffer from alcohol use disorder (AUD) have an even greater risk for these and other problems when compared to moderate or light drinkers. Further, despite consuming less alcohol than whites, people of color (POC) experience worse alcohol-related health consequences. While AUD treatment is an effective way of curbing alcohol consumption, POC are also less likely to have access to these services due to systemic and structurally racist barriers (e.g., lack of insurance, poverty, and lack of transportation). We propose to create a mobile app for the management of AUD in Black men. Use of the APP’s two-way dissemination of information regarding patients’ current risk of alcohol use will allow healthcare providers to efficiently focus limited resources in real-time on patients with greatest need, preventing negative outcomes from AUD.

Oshkii Ayaawag (Our Youth)

PI/Dept:

Anna Wirta Kosobuski, EdD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences

 

Problem to be addressed (hypothesis):

Native American youth bear an inordinate share of our state’s mental and behavioral health disorders and associated mortalities, yet there is inadequate access to services and available therapies are often ineffective. Of late, this has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19; its full impact on the wellbeing of Native American youth is yet unknown. Mental health professionals at Bois Forte Band of Chippewa’s Health and Human Services (HHS) describe an increased presence of anxiety, depression among community members. Among youth, substance use has risen noticeably. Oshkii Ayaawag seeks to identify elements that collectively comprise an effective community-based, culturally-grounded Native American youth therapy model.