Spotlight: Tyson Jackson

Tyson JacksonTyson Jackson is a Senior Community Outreach Coordinator with UW-CCHE and the All of Us UW Research Program. Tyson has served in this role since December 2018, as part of a team that is establishing and maintaining multiple community-academic partnerships. In spring 2020, he completed the ICTR Research Staff Training Course in Qualitative Methods led by Dr. Nora Jacobson. In this Spotlight, Tyson shares about his experience and how he is using what he learned in his work with CCHE and AoU Wisconsin.

How was the course? Any highlights?

The course was great.  I was able to learn about qualitative research methods, research paradigms and process, and research methodology. We made deep dives into participant observation, interviews, focus groups, document review/archival research, and data analysis. The course also covered study designs, critical appraisal, research ethics, mixed methods, and, best of all, community engaged research.

Instructor Nora Jacobson created an inclusive and relevant experience. Her background knowledge of different UW departments, including CCHE, and scope of their research, allowed for the experience to be tailored toward issues and questions relative to my work in health equity. Other students received a similar customized experience. I could express thoughts and opinions with classmates from other disciplines to help invoke thought related to the inequality of research by practice and by participation. The class encouraged exploring our thoughts on the lack of diversity in research in both investigative teams and participation, looking at our own projects as illustrations. The richness of these cross discipline discussions were definitely meaningful.

Was the content ALL new or did it put names to things you already practiced, but maybe referred to differently?

The specific content that I was most able to relate to was a practice called ‘probing’ which I have performed previously in my work, without having a scholarly name or definition.  In qualitative interviewing, probing is an intentional strategy to ensure someone has had an opportunity to respond completely, with a robust and informative answer related to the question asked. In practice, it’s accepting an individual’s initial response, but also using it to identify opportunities for ask relevant clarifying or follow-up questions to ensure I have an in-depth and compete understanding of their perspective.  I recognized probing as an effective qualitative tool I used in advocacy and relational support dialogues with youth in past roles I have held, and also when developing community-based relationships with local organizations in partnership with CCHE/AoU today. Probing signals to someone you have a desire to understand, allowing for collaborative exchange and informed decision making to take place.  It also increases bidirectional appreciation which promotes value and sustained trust.

How does this impact your current and future work/career aspirations?

What I learned in this course is already helping me practice science better as I get deeper into conducting research. There are many areas within health equity research that value qualitative information retrieval. Understanding how best to ask and tailor questions, transcribe data, and how to create and design a project – all of these are allowing me to expand my work positively with community partners.

It’s also helps me to better understand how research projects can be designed to rely on my expertise to help and support engagement of members of particular communities. The ‘brokering’ effort I do calls on these skills but will always have to be adapted and executed differently given a whole host of circumstances and variables associated with where and when and who I am working with – all while maintaining my advocacy for the community for any particular research project.

How will this help you in your CCHE role?

Through this class I gained foundational education in qualitative research that will be applicable for my role on Dr. Susan Passmore’s recently awarded R21 grant project which focuses on learning about specific groups’ thoughts/feelings about participating in genetic research. Beyond that specific project, it also helps me in other CCHE spaces and to better understand some of the conversations occurring in ICTR including the Neighborhood Health Reports in development with ICTR/CAP.  I am also in the process of drafting my first research manuscript focused on my CCHE role with the support of and in collaboration with Dr. Angela Byars-Winston and Sarah Esmond.

Tell us more about your NEW role with CCHE!

In 2021 I am now a Senior Community Outreach Coordinator.  I plan to continue to develop community relationships for CCHE and All of Us. I will continue to prioritize and target populations underrepresented in health and research focusing on racial/ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, individuals living in rural areas, those with low socioeconomic status, and those over 65 years old.  I will continue towards publishing a journal article on the role of the research ambassador in the Madison community by the end of 2021. I will lend leadership to Dr Passmore’s Just Research program targeting African Americans 40 years and older to better understand the triggers determining choice to get involved in genetic research.

I’m particularly excited to pilot my plan for establishing Neighborhood Health Councils on Madison’s Northeast side to help coordinate, inform and organize local health initiatives and to increase cross organizational support to enhance the value of information and services provided to area community members around health and research.

In addition to his extensive engagement and service work within local Madison communities, Mr. Jackson has lent his moderating skills to a CCHE:LIVE webinar event. ‘Talking Barbershop – Improving Black Men’s Health: The Barbershop Community Engagement Model’ took place in June 2020 and you can view the video capture here.

Tyson Jackson shares on AoU science research with a group