COVID-19 population health equity research grants

COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of life, from working remotely, going to school online, wearing masks, and maintaining six feet of distance.One other unexpected impact of the pandemic is an increase in discriminationand violence among Black and Asian Americans.Four in 10 Black and Asian American adults have reported negative experiences due to their race or ethnicity since the COVID-19 outbreak, which include worrying about wearing a mask, being the victim of racist slurs or jokes, and fear of being physically attacked.    

School of Nursing Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Tamsin LeeDAOM, AEMP and co-investigator Yvonne Lin, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutics, School of Pharmacy are conducting a study to help Black and Asian Americans help address mental health challenges while fostering interracial community support (historically, the two communities have had periods of both interracial tension and unity).  

Dr. Lee is developing a feasibility study to explore the use of online peer-support for Black and Asian American adults between 18 to 40 years of age. Building Resilient Attitudes with Virtual Engagement (BRAVE): A Feasibility Study on Online Mental Health Webinars for Black and Asian Americans during COVID-19 was recently awarded a COVID-19 population health equity grant from the University of Washington Population Health Initiative. The grants are intended to support UW researchers in partnering with communities of color, which are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, to develop COVID-19 research projects that address community-identified needs. 

Since this is a feasibility study, we’re interested to see if a community-engaged webinar series to address mental health is possible,” said Dr. LeeWith COVID-19 and the recommended physical distancing mandate, people have Zoom fatigueWe factored this burden in when we proposed our study and we hope to address it by creating a much more interactive, engaging, and experiential virtual gathering for participants.  

The study aims to: 

1) examine whether Black and Asian American adults are willing to participate and adhere to interactive webinars focused on mentalhealth 

2) explore potential benefits of the webinars on race-related stressorsbecause ofthe COVID-19 crisis;  

 3) and develop interracial webinar-based community support that can be adapted and disseminated more widely.  

The project will bring together several community organizations serving Black and Asian American communities and the data collected will provide community organizations a better understanding of online programs and methodological issues for a larger scale study.The entire research team is Black and Asian Americans.  

Lee hopes participants will feel connected, empowered, and gain a more creative way of thinking about mental wellness.   

We’re living in unprecedented times and how we took care of ourselves pre-COVID-19 might not work as well now. It’s important to always add different “self-care tools and hopefully participants will gain innovative ways to cope with their stress and share these with their communities.” 

Lee added, “We also hope that the participants will be able to understand each other on a more profound and meaningful manner. The Black and Asian American communities have a unique history and the fact that these two demographics are experiencing an increase of racial and ethnic discrimination right now is significant. We’re curious and excited to learn more about the participants’ experience.”