In October, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) awarded a total of $520,000 in funding to the Center for Health Disparities Research at the University of California, Riverside (HDR@UCR) as part of a statewide initiative to address health disparities related to COVID-19.
The project, named “STOP COVID-19 CA” (Share, Trust, Organize, Partner: The COVID-19 California Alliance) is an National Institutes of Health (NIH) Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) funded project. CEAL is an NIH-wide effort led by NIMHD and NHLBI that works to expand existing community outreach efforts already underway by NIH COVID-19 trial networks.
The alliance will provide $320,000 in funding to the HDR@UCR Center. An additional $200,000 in funding from NIMHD will support additional vaccine-oriented studies.
The funding will support work by UCR researchers Ann Cheney, Ph.D., David D. Lo, M.D., Ph.D., Juliet McMullin, Ph.D., Brandon Brown, M.P.H., Ph.D., Michelle C. Burroughs, M.P.H., and Deborah Lefkowitz, Ph.D. as well as Jenna LeComte-Hinely, Ph.D. from Health Assessment and Research for Communities (HARC), a local nonprofit research organization.
UCR will be working with communities, health systems, and community health workers in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to examine and address the fluctuating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, UCR has been funded by NIMHD for a project “Assessing Vaccine Attitudes in Minority Communities”. This project, led by Lefkowitz, will include an online survey and semi-structured interviews to assess knowledge, beliefs, expectations, concerns, and fears regarding a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Results from these surveys will be used to develop communication interventions to better inform our communities and support their decisions regarding vaccine acceptance. The UCR team will work with the STOP COVID-19 CA and National CEAL efforts to share common data elements, protocols, and results.