Whitney 老大 says the Health Equitability Assessment and Readiness Tool will prioritize user experience. 摄影:Taylor Morales.

惠特尼老大 an assistant professor in the amjs澳金沙门社会工作学院, has received a five-year, $2.500万美元的拨款 国家过敏和传染病amjs澳金沙门所 to develop a research tool to assess the equitability of public health programs.

老大 says the Health Equitability Assessment and Readiness Tool—a questionnaire that will prioritize user experience—will help 公共卫生专业人员 pinpoint ways to improve programs that aim to increase opportunities for everyone to live healthy lives.

“My hope is that organizations use this tool to prove to funders that they should receive support for their programming,老大说。, whose research situates health disparities as a consequence of social and structural practices driven by systems of oppression rather than individual behavior. “我真的相信这个工具可以帮助启动一些结构性变革.”

她说她想出了这个工具的想法, 谁的首字母缩写是HEART, following the murder of George Floyd and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred funding organizations to invest more money in programs that aimed to 促进 health equity. As 公共卫生专业人员 started to create new programs with their new funding, she realized that there was no mechanism in place to measure their success. 

“We assume that organizations have what it takes to deliver on their promise of creating equitable outcomes for the communities they serve, 但目前没有任何措施可以确保这一点,老大说。, 谁的主要amjs澳金沙门目标是提高, 促进, 并保护美国黑人妇女的性健康和生殖健康.S. “The HEART will empower these organizations to assess what it would take for them to improve the health and well-being of historically marginalized groups.”

老大将根据医生的见解编制问卷, 病人, 公共卫生专业人员, 以及其他利益相关者, all of whom will respond to the same prompt: “What does it take to create a program that produces equity?”

“We’re hoping to sample a diverse range of public health service providers and beneficiaries in order to get conceptual insight into what they think it takes for a program to have an impact on health equity,她说。. “I would like for it to over-represent people who are not likely to be invited into these spaces because they are more than likely the ones who could benefit from the outcomes of a tool like this the most.”

老大, 谁会把这个项目比作“大型集体面试”,” will categorize responses into different domains and create questions related to each area. She says one set of questions could focus on how closely employees reflect the demographics of the people they serve. Another set of questions might explore programs’ communication strategies, 重点是他们用来推广服务的语言. 

Public health organizations that complete the questionnaire will receive a score in each domain, helping them identify what they need to improve to make their programs more equitable. 

我觉得她很有远见. And I think she’s also capable of taking that vision and turning it into very concrete, 精心制定, 注重细节的, 科学的建议.
艾文耿, director of the 传播和执行中心 在华盛顿大学圣路易斯分校. 路易

老大的项目是由一个 导演先锋奖 来自美国国立卫生amjs澳金沙门院, a highly-selective honor that supports exceptionally creative scientists who are pursuing novel ideas outside their current research program. 这个奖项, 成立于2004年, supports outside-the-box thinkers pioneering new approaches to major challenges in biomedical, 社会科学, 以及行为amjs澳金沙门.

老大的导师, 艾文耿, says her project takes a scientific approach to creating a more just and equitable society. 

“Sometimes I think that scientists feel like they need to do stuff that’s sequestered from our politics and our passions, but science is the most impactful when it is aligned with wider societal conversations,耿说。, 医学教授和主任 传播和执行中心 在华盛顿大学圣路易斯分校. 路易. “我认为,作为一个领域,我们可以也应该朝着这个方向前进. 我认为这个项目就是一个很好的例子.”

老大计划根据以下方面的意见来设计问卷 拉里·休斯顿·勒德洛, 计量学系的前任主席, 评价, 统计数据, 林奇教育学院的评估课程. 问卷的外观和感觉有待确定, she says she wants to make it easy to use and fun—perhaps mobile friendly, drawing in participants with interesting vignettes and a colorful interface. 

“A lot of innovations sit on the shelf because the people who created them don’t think about the user experience,老大说。. “But the work means nothing if the people who could benefit from it don’t enjoy engaging in it.”

老大 hopes to pilot test the HEART with five public health organizations. 她说,每个组织将得到20美元,000 microgrant to support a program that aims to help end the HIV epidemic, with the stipulation that the organization use the tool at various stages of the program.

“我们想了解这些组织是如何使用这个工具的, 不管这对他们来说是否合理, 以及他们的用户体验,老大说。.

在分析了问卷的可用性和可行性之后, 老大计划申请更多拨款,以扩大amjs澳金沙门范围. First she wants to create a toolkit with strategies packages to help public health organizations improve the equitability of their programs, then she wants to scrutinize the efficacy of the strategy packs to see which ones had the most positive impact.

“我想推动我的amjs澳金沙门项目向前发展,”老大说. “I want to encourage and agitate systems a little bit in a meaningful way to improve engagement, 提高教育, 并最终授权给这些组织.” 

Geng says 老大 possesses the right mix of passion and scientific acumen to achieve her research goals. “我认为她很有远见,”他说. “And I think she’s also capable of taking that vision and turning it into very concrete, 精心制定, 注重细节的, 科学的建议.”