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“Research Matters: Creating Possibilities to Achieve Health and Wellness for All of Us”

The 2020-21 fiscal year marks the fourth year that the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) has conducted outreach and programming activities as a National Community Engagement partner with the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program. NIH has awarded funding to DREF to conduct a community awareness campaign that informs African Americans about the importance of understanding and participating in biomedical research.

All of Us logo

The All of Us Research Program, a part of the Precision Medicine Initiative created during the President Obama administration, aims to engage one million or more volunteers living in the U.S. to contribute their health data over several years to improve health outcomes, fuel the development of new treatments for disease, and catalyze a new era of evidence-based and more precise preventive care and medical treatment.

The DREF awareness campaign entitled, “Research Matters:  Creating Possibilities to Achieve Health and Wellness for All of Us” focuses on the objective of creating awareness about how research matters in closing the health disparities gap.  African Americans continue to have the highest incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates from chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, mental health, and HIV/AIDS, yet they contribute to only five percent of clinical trial participants in America.

Since being selected as an NIH National Community Engagement partner in 2017, DREF has collaborated with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the National Council of Negro Women to raise awareness about this transformative initiative.  Through their collaborative effort, the organizations educate communities throughout the nation about the All of Us Research Program and how African Americans can impact the health and wellness of their families, for current and future generations.

Although impacted by the current restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitment to the overall health and well-being of African American communities has not waivered.  As a part of the pivot strategy, DREF Research Matters implemented a digital programming series.  These virtual presentations are designed to foster the development of healthy habits and lay the groundwork to share information, inspiration and ideas for African Americans to lead balanced and healthy lifestyles.

During the 2020 -2021 grant award year, the DREF Research Matters initiative has identified seven primary strategies of implementation. They include:

•           Citywide Coordinators

•           Collegiate Partnerships

•           Communications

•           Engagement

•           R.A.P. Sessions (HBCU Initiative)

•           Social Media

•           Underrepresented in Biomedical Research (UBR) Project

Beginning in October 2020, DREF Research Matters enhanced its virtual engagement by insuring consistency, relatability and relevancy in communication messages and presentations.  Specific monthly assignments, topics and subject matters are provided to ensure that all of the DREF Research Matters for All of Us efforts align and adhere to the proposed strategies and overall mission of the initiative.  This strategy will be key in achieving successful engagement, enrollment, recruitment, and retention efforts.

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