Rural populations are significantly underrepresented in health research, and the knowledge and perspectives of rural health providers and patients are largely undocumented. This creates disconnect between the realities of rural community life, health center providers, and the available research evidence. This disconnect is a barrier to rural community trust and participation in research. The purpose of this study is to engage and empower rural communities across WV as partners in the research process, thereby enhancing trust and research participation.
A community engagement team traveled around West Virginia to facilitate focus groups. The purpose of these focus groups was to gain in-depth insights into the concerns, barriers, and perceptions that West Virginians have about research. This information will guide the development of a curriculum to engage community members as research partners. There were 10 focus groups throughout the state, and each focus group include dabout 10 adults. Participants were encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings without fear or criticism.
“It’s critically important that all West Virginians benefit from biomedical and behavioral advances that will ultimately improve WV health outcomes”, said Stephenie Kennedy, Co-director of the WVCTSI Community Engagement Core, “We want to listen to people across WV so we can develop meaningful relationships with rural communities and engage them as research partners.”
From the March 2019 Quarterly Newsletter