November 17, 2020

WSU and Karmanos Cancer Institute to host two-day symposium on advancing health equity and impact of COVID-19

Wayne State University and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute will host the “Community-Engaged Research Symposium to Advance Health Equity: The Impact of Coronavirus Now and in the Future,” on Dec. 1 and 2. The virtual symposium is free and open to the public; registration is required and can be completed online.

“This is our third annual symposium, and we are honored to take on the challenge of adapting it to the pandemic,” said Rhonda Dailey, M.D., assistant professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, and scientific director of the Office of Community Engaged Research at Wayne State University. “The virtual platform is a convenient way for academicians, community organizations and community members involved in community-based research to present their hard-earned work related to COVID-19. We hope that attendees will use the symposium to form new, lasting connections and partnerships.”

The symposium will create a space for community stakeholders and academic researchers to network, share research priorities and advance community-engaged science focused on the impact of the coronavirus now and for the future. This meeting is supported, in part, by Wayne State University’s Office of the Vice President for Research, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement, Wayne State’s Office of Community Engaged Research and the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors.

Community-academic research partnerships are more important than ever, said Hayley Thompson, Ph.D., professor of Oncology in the Wayne State School of Medicine and associate center director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

“Just like cancer, heart disease and a host of other conditions, the burden of COVID-19 is greater in communities of color, in under-resourced areas and among groups who are marginalized in other ways,” Dr. Thompson said. “If we want to generate data and knowledge that can make a difference, meaningful collaboration between these groups and academic researchers is essential. This symposium is one step toward real collaboration.”

The second day of the symposium will feature Christie Drew, Ph.D., chief of the Program Analysis Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Drew will present the logic model concept using predesigned case studies or examples identified by participants’ responses provided at the time they register. After she provides the logic model overview, participants will work in small virtual breakout groups to develop activities, outputs and impacts to achieve a goal.

“This symposium is a window for attendees to peer into a diverse group of projects to see how partnerships and interactions have evolved and persisted through the pandemic,” said Carrie Leach, Ph.D., research associate at the Institute of Gerontology and the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors at Wayne State University. “To continue the metaphor, it’s also a door, which we hope is a gateway for more community-driven work.”

The full program is available online.

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