October 27, 2020

WSU/Karmanos team secures PCORI grant to fund community involvement in COVID-19 research

A team at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has been approved for a $149,324 award through the Eugene Washington Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Engagement Awards program to support a new project.

The award will fund “Supporting Detroit Communities as Leaders and Partners in COVID-19 Research,” a COVID-19-related project enhancement to the previously funded and ongoing project, “Best Practices to Engage Black Men in the Development of a Cancer Health Equity Research Agenda.”

The project is co-led by Jinping Xu, M.D., professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, and Hayley Thompson Ph.D., professor of Oncology and associate center director of Community Outreach & Engagement and faculty director of the Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement at Karmanos.

The project will focus on developing a community-informed COVID-19 research agenda and is recruiting members for two COVID-19 Action Councils. These groups will work to reduce COVID-19-related health disparities by engaging community members as partners in COVID-19 research. Additionally, council members will have the opportunity to serve on a community research review board at Wayne State as part of a system to integrate community interests into research and ensure transparency. COVID-19 survivors, caregivers, essential workers, first responders and advocates from the metropolitan Detroit area are invited to apply. Visit here for additional information about the COVID-19 Action Councils and to access the application.

“We are thrilled to have this additional funding from PCORI to develop the COVID-19 Action Council so we may better understand the impact COVID-19 has on our local communities and the necessary steps to reduce health disparities that have been exposed by COVID-19,” Dr. Xu said.

“Traditionally, everyday people have been excluded from academic medical research, and community priorities and values are not typically considered. We’re excited to work with our community partners – Detroit Parent Network, the Faith-Based Genetic Research Institute, LGBT Detroit and Community-Campus Partnerships for Health – to amplify community voices and perspectives on the COVID-19 research taking place in our city and region,” Dr. Thompson said.

This COVID-19 project, as well as the original project, are part of a portfolio of projects that PCORI has funded to equip patients and other stakeholders to participate as partners in comparative clinical effectiveness research, or CER,  and disseminate PCORI-funded study results. Through the Engagement Award Program, PCORI is creating an expansive network of individuals, communities and organizations interested in and able to participate in, share and use patient-centered CER.

“This project was selected for Engagement Award funding because it will help the community increase their capacity to participate across all phases of the PCORI/CER process while responding to contextual changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jean Slutsky, PCORI’s chief Engagement and Dissemination officer. “We look forward to working with Wayne State University and Karmanos throughout their 2021 project.”

Wayne State University’s project and the other projects approved for funding by the PCORI Engagement Award Program were selected through a highly competitive review process in which applications were assessed for their ability to meet PCORI’s engagement goals and objectives, as well as program criteria. For more information about PCORI’s funding to support engagement efforts, visit pcori.org/content/eugene-washington-pcori-engagement-awards.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, caregivers and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.