Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing income inequality and health disparities in the United States (US). The objective of this study was to conduct timely, community-engaged research to understand the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on historically under-resourced communities with the goal of improving health equity. The initiative focused on priorities identified by Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) conducted every 3 years per Federal funding requirements. These were access to healthcare, maternal/child health, obesity/food insecurity/physical activity, and mental health/addiction. Methods: In the first three quarters of 2021, we developed and employed mixed methods in three simultaneous phases of data collection. In phase 1, we used purposive sampling to identify key informants from multiple stakeholder groups and conducted semi-structured interviews. In phase 2, we held focus groups with community members from historically marginalized demographics. In phase 3, we developed a survey using validated scales and distributed it to diverse communities residing in the geographic areas of our healthcare system across four states. Conclusion: Healthcare systems may use the methodology outlined in this paper to conduct responsive community engagement during periods of instability and/or crisis and to address health equity issues. The results can inform sustainable approaches to collaborate with communities to build resilience and prepare for future crises.
- Community-based participatory research
- Health disparities
- Mixed methods research
ASJC Scopus subject areas