Community Guidelines for Engaging with Researchers and Evaluators

A community resource authored by Ms. Evelyn Cruz, the Director for Program Development and Evaluation at Centro Hispano in Madison, Wisconsin, and Dr. Lori Bakken, a Professor in the Civil Society and Community Studies department and Evaluation Specialist for the Division of Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

File: Community-Guidelines-for-Engaging-with-Researchers-and-Evaluators_May-2020.pdf

Community Resilience & Healing during COVID-19 Webinar Wed., 5/20

CCPH May 20 webinar

CCPH May 20 webinar

Join the weekly Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) Webinar Series this Wednesday ~

This Wednesday, May 20 from 12-1:00pm CST, the webinar will focus on Community Resilience & Healing during COVID-19. During this session, guest speakers will share from their work how we can understand the factors that promote community resilience during COVID-19 and lessons learned about community healing in past traumas.

The speakers are:

  • Kira H. Banks, PhD, Associate Professor, Clinical Program, Department of Psychology at Saint Louis University, CEO of Raising Equity
  • Alonzo L. Plough, PhD, MPH, MA, Chief Science Officer and VP of Research-Evaluation-Learning at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Alice Schenall, MPH, MCHES®, CDP, Director of Quality Improvement, Rural Health Group, Inc.

Register here.

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the Center for Health Equity Research at the University of North Carolina have partnered to launch the webinar series, Communities in Partnership: Ensuring Equity in the Time of COVID19.

New R21 Award from NHGRI for Susan Passmore, PhD

Susan Passmore

Susan PassmoreCongratulations are in order for CCHE Assistant Director Susan Passmore!

Dr. Passmore has been awarded a R21 grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) for her project, ‘Feasibility of an Innovative Method to Understand the Dynamics of Choice and Create Diversity in Genomics Research among Older African Americans.’

Despite the existence of substantial health inequities, African Americans continue to be underrepresented in genomic research that addresses the underlying diseases. This study will test the feasibility of an innovative method to gauge how multiple factors interact to influence the decision to participate in research.

The research team will examine a range of study “attributes” (scope of consent required, diversity of the research team, research goal, and institutional affiliation), to determine the relative importance of each in the decision to participate in research and the symbolic construction of trustworthiness. Dr. Passmore notes,

The goal of our study is two fold. First, we want to create a more accurate and actionable understanding of the challenges of genomics research engagement. Second, we hope that this information will allow us to develop an effective and simple, mobile-based methodology that can be used to test the feasibility/acceptability of research designs attributes prior to recruitment for a wide range of studies.

Dr. Passmore developed the methodology for this project during her previous work with the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity and published on it earlier this year in Public Health Genomics. Read the ‘I’m a Little More Trusting’ piece here. Look for an article on the specifics of the methodology in an upcoming issue of Field Methods.

Collaborators on the R21 project include CCHE Faculty Director Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, CCHE Research Ambassador Tyson Jackson, and Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships (CCEHP) Director Gina Green-Harris from UW-Madison; and Stephen B. Thomas and Gregory R. Hancock from University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Passmore and team anticipate that data collection will begin in Fall 2020 as research activities resume. Congratulations, all!

Racism Against Physicians of Color Continues

Dr. Damon Tweedy, a psychiatrist and professor at Duke University, authored the book, Black Man in a White Coat, in which he describes a medical system that includes not only unequal treatment of patients, but of the physicians themselves…a system that can be “just as sick as its patients.”

A new publication authored by SMPH scholars Drs. Amy Filut, Madelyn Alvarez, and Molly Carnes in the Journal of the National Medical Association documents “workplace discrimination experienced by physicians of color, particularly Black physicians and women of color.” Such discriminatory experiences included not only refusal of care by patients, but discriminatory interactions with their White health provider peers, consistent with experiences documented by Dr. Tweedy.

Their systematic review of empirical studies revealed that the discrimination physicians identifying as Black, Latinx, Native American or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander experience negatively affected not only their career, but also the physicians’ health as well. The authors did not find any published studies that evaluated interventions to reduce discrimination against physicians of color in the workplace. Angela Byars-Winston, Professor of Medicine and CCHE Associate Director comments,

The reality is that racism in medicine and health care has paralleled racism in Angela Byars-Winstonsociety. And we know that racism doesn’t just happen passively; there are systems and mindsets that actively reinforce the many forms that racism takes from implicit and explicit biases to outright discrimination. Something needs to be done with intention to ensure a respectful and healthy workplace for physicians of color.

Recognizing the need to address workplace challenges for physicians of color, Byars-Winston joined CCHE Senior Associate Director Christine Sorkness (Professor of Pharmacy) to collaborate with SMPH leaders in creating a new program in 2019, Building Equitable Access to Mentorship (BEAM). BEAM connects trained faculty mentors with medical students from under-represented racial/ethnic groups in medicine. The primary goal is to support student talent development by building self-efficacy for degree completion and skills to navigate cultural diversity dynamics that can arise in their career progression as emerging physicians of color.

An important outcome of BEAM has been the community of practice amongst the faculty mentors themselves, most identified as physicians of color, who are finding mutual support and sharing strategies for thriving in academic medicine, including addressing bias and discrimination. Byars-Winston adds,

We have to be honest; the workplace is the people; the climate is the people. It’s easier to use generic words like “workplace” and “climate” than to call out individuals. But transforming and improving the workplace means that individuals have to change. While we are working on improving the behaviors of majority group members, we can facilitate the persistence of those individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.

Additionally, Robert N. Golden, UW-Madison’s Dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health, notes,

Dean GoldenThe article by Dr. Carnes and her colleagues shines light on a very ugly truth: physicians of color are subjected to discrimination in the workplace.  This completely contradicts the fundamental values of medicine in general, and academic medicine in particular.  I wish we could say that our School of Medicine and Public Health is immune from this illness….but that is not the case.

We are dedicated to evolving as a national leader in promoting a fair, equitable, and just workplace for all.  We hope the entire SMPH community will embrace this challenge and participate in our commitment to Building Community.

The UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity shares the conclusions reached in the new article by Dr. Filut and her colleagues and the sentiments of Dr. Byars-Winston and Dean Golden. We recognize and support the value added of the BEAM program to advance an inclusive and excellent diverse medical workforce and appreciate the SMPH efforts towards Building Community.

Find the JAMA article here.

Register Now for HELI 2020!

HELI 2020 Shared Future

Registration is now open for HELI 2020!

2020 is the 10 year program anniversary, and instead of hosting our usual week-long Institute, we are hosting a two-day conference celebrating 10 years of the evolution of health equity research and its many diverse leaders.

Learn more about the 2020 Health Equity Leadership Institute on the UW HELI website.

Register Here!


EDIT – March 19, 2020Thank you for your patience as planning for HELI 2020 continues amidst the national concerns related to COVID-19. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has modified spring semester instruction and cancelled all campus events of more than 50 people through at least April 10.

We do not yet know whether we will need to cancel our late June 2020 HELI event. We will learn more in the coming weeks and will move forward as best we can in the interim.

New Publication – “I’m a Little More Trusting”: Components of Trustworthiness in the Decision to Participate in Genomics Research for African Americans

Public Health Genomics journal cover

CCHE would like to share a recent publication by our Assistant Director Susan Passmore, PhD, and colleagues.

“I’m a Little More Trusting”: Components of Trustworthiness in the Decision to Participate in Genomics Research for African Americans is published in Public Health Genomics.

Aims: This study sought to explore the decision to participate in genomics research for African American individuals. Our overall goal was to explore (1) the attributes that significantly contribute to willingness to participate in genomics research; (2) how these attributes are interpreted (what is their meaning?); (3) how trustworthiness is estimated in the decision to participate in research (i.e., what are the symbolic representations or heuristics of trustworthiness in decision-making?); and (4) how participants see factors to counterweigh each other.

Methods: We sought a methodology that would afford exploration of the compensatory nature of decision-making where some choice attributes may be weighed differently than others as well as the use of heuristics (shortcuts to estimate key concepts in the mentally taxing task of decision-making) for concepts such as trustworthiness. We used a qualitative story deck to create hypothetical research scenarios with variable attributes (i.e., researcher race/ethnicity; institutional affiliation; research goal; and biospecimen requested) to determine how individuals find and interpret information to make decisions about research participation. These semi-structured interviews (n = 82) were conducted in African American barbershops in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Results: Quantitative and qualitative analysis was completed. Findings include that, even in the absence of interpersonal connection, trustworthiness can be communicated through multiple factors, such as (1) shared values with researchers and (2) familiarity. Conversely, (1) ambiguity, especially regarding the use of biospecimens, (2) negative reputations, and (3) perceptions of “hidden agendas” were associated with a lower willingness to participate. However, the alignment of participant and research goals was weighed more heavily in decisions than other factors.

Conclusion: This study finds that negatively assessed characteristics in research design do not result in automatic rejections of participation. Negative assessments can be mitigated by emphasizing the multiple factors that communicate trustworthiness in the consent process, which may improve rates of research participation.

Read the full article here.

Dr. Passmore’s co-authors include Amelia M. Jamison, Gregory R. Hancock, Moaz Abdelwadoud, C. Daniel Mullins, Taylor B. Rogers, and Stephen B. Thomas.

Susan Passmore Public Health Genomics journal cover

Dr. Susan Passmore

All of Us Research Program announces partnership with Aaron Perry’s Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association

Reprinted with permission

The All of Us Research Program at UW-Madison recently launched a partnership with Aaron Perry and his Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association to recruit and enroll participants in this historic health research effort to help speed up medical breakthroughs.

Perry’s Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association includes a Men’s Wellness and a Men’s Health and Education Center located within JP Hair Design, Madison’s largest black barbershop. The Association serves as a community resource hub for more information about the All of Us program, as well as an enrollment location for those who wish to join. Elizabeth Burnside, co-principal investigator, All of Us – UW-Madison, comments,

Elizabeth Burnside

Aaron Perry is an exceptional leader, so this partnership will be instrumental in our efforts to engage with and inform Madison’s African-American community about the benefits of the All of Us Research Program.

Health research too often leaves out African-Americans. We believe All of Us has the potential to change this pattern and drive research discoveries that significantly improve the health of African-Americans, and other underrepresented groups, in Wisconsin, for generations.

The All of Us Research Program at UW-Madison is part of a nationwide effort to enroll one million or more people who will share information over time for use in thousands of health research studies. In this way, the program aims to advance medical discoveries and improve prevention and treatment of a range of diseases. UW Health joins UW-Madison as a key partner, assisting with outreach and enrollment efforts in southcentral Wisconsin.

Participants in the program are asked to share their electronic health record, answer questions through online surveys, have physical measurements taken and submit samples of blood and urine. Enrollees receive $25 upon completion of these steps. All of Us will let participants know about additional surveys and other ways to share information over the course of the program. Perry notes,

As founder and CEO of the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association, I’m in full support of the All of Us Program.

As someone who lives his daily life with a chronic health condition, I hope to encourage other black males to join this effort to help improve future health of our kids and our grandkids.

Perry’s partnership with JP Hair Design aims to reduce health disparities and improve the social and health conditions of black men in Dane County. The All of Us Program’s commitment to diversity in health research aligns well with this mission. Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, co-principal investigator, All of Us – UW-Madison, adds,

Farrar-EdwardsAll of Us could not be successful without the partnership and guidance of community organizations like the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association.

These partnerships are vital to responsibly conveying information within the community and demonstrating that participation in health research programs, like All of Us, helps community leaders and health researchers work toward health equity in Wisconsin and beyond.

For more information, including how to participate, please visit the All of Us -Wisconsin website.

Read more about this and other research partnerships on the CCHE community engagement page

Recent Study Identifies Key Reason Black Scientists Receive Less NIH Funding


CCHE would like to share the recently released study in Science Advances, on the off chance some of our affiliates may not have already seen it ~

Research topic preference accounts for more than 20% of a persistent funding gap for black scientists applying for National Institutes of Health research project (R01) grants compared to white scientists, according to the new study by NIH scientists published October 9th in Science Advances.

Read the Science Advances piece here: Topic choice contributes to the lower rate of NIH awards to African-American/black scientists

Specifically, black applicants are more likely to propose approaches, such as community interventions, and topics, such as health disparities, adolescent health, and fertility, that receive less competitive scores from reviewers. And a proposal with a poorer score is less likely to be funded. The finding is already prompting discussion about whether that disparity is rooted in NIH’s priorities—and whether those priorities should be rethought.

Longtime CCHE collaborator Dr. Stephen Thomas of University of Maryland College Park and Dr. Molly Carnes of UW-Madison are quoted in a Science piece on the new study. Read it here: Study identifies a key reason black scientists are less likely to receive NIH funding

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity Dr. Hannah Valantine have also weighed in. Read the NIH news release here.

Social Justice is an Important Component of Medical Education

Last month, a former Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine penned an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns,” arguing that medical school curricula should not include topics related to “social justice” at the expense of “basic scientific knowledge.”

Hundreds of alumni of Penn Medicine signed an open letter in response, published in Medscape Pharmacists, objecting to this former Dean’s limited view of the scope of medicine. Their response and the resulting conversation reflects a powerful testament to why a School of Medicine and Public Health is so important and necessary.

UW-Madison’s own Dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health, Robert N. Golden, MD, commented:

Dean GoldenThe University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health fully supports the perspective, recently advanced by many in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania community, that medical education must include the important areas related to “social justice”. The health of people and populations is determined by social, behavioral, environmental, and biological forces.

The topics that were recently identified in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, including health policy, population health, health disparities, cultural diversity, bias, climate change, gun violence, and transgender health, are critically important elements in modern health professional education and training.  It is essential that those involved in caring for patients possess a full understanding of both the social and biological aspects of health and illness. Health educators therefore have an obligation to provide these elements in our medical and health professions curricula.

The UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity and the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research share Dean Golden’s sentiments and we recognize and appreciate being able to operate in a setting that recognizes the value of social determinants in health and wellness.