Family Medicine and Primary Care: Open Access (ISSN: 2688-7460)

review article

Involving Urban Single Low-Income African American Mothers in Genomic Research: Giving Voice to How Place Matters in Health Disparities and Prevention Strategies

Ruby Mendenhall1*, Loren Henderson2, Barbara Scott3, Lisa Butler4, Kedir N. Turi5, Andrew Greenlee6, Gene E. Robinson7, Brent W. Roberts8, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas9, James E. Brooks10, Christy L. Lleras11

1Department of Sociology, African American Studies & Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

2Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

3Department of Sociology, Northeastern Illinois University, USA

4Independent Scholar, Northeastern Illinois University, USA

5Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA

6Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

7Institute for Genomic Biology, Integrative Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

8Center for Social and Behavioral Science Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

9Animal Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

10Psychology, Tennessee State University, USA

11Human Development & Family Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

*Corresponding author: Ruby Mendenhall, Department of Sociology, African American Studies & Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 702 S. Wright Ave. MC-454, Urbana, IL 61822, USA

Received Date: 07 June, 2020; Accepted Date: 24 June, 2020; Published Date: 30 June, 2020

Abstract

This article describes the process of using principles from community-based participatory action research to involve lowincome, single, African American mothers on the south side of Chicago in genomic research, including as citizen scientists. The South Chicago Black Mothers’ Resiliency Project used a mixed methods design to investigate how the stress of living in neighborhoods with high levels of violence affects mothers’ mental and physical health. This article seeks to serve as a model for physicians and scholars interested in successfully involving low-income African American mothers in genomic research, and other health-related activities in ways that are culturally sensitive and transformative. The lives of Black mothers who struggle under interlocking systems of oppression that are often hidden from view of most Americans are at the center of this article. Therefore, we provide extensive information about the procedures used to collect the various types of data, the rationale for our procedures, the setting, the responses of mothers in our sample and methodological challenges. This study also has implications for the current COVID-19 pandemic and the need to train a corps of citizen scientists in health and wellness to avoid future extreme loss of life such as the 106,195 lives lost in the United States as of June 1, 2020.

Keywords

Community-based participatory action research; Citizen scientists; Health disparities; Black mothers; Sociogenomics; Stress; COVID-19


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