We are currently seeking individuals who live, work, or serve in the Hough Neighborhood in Cuyahoga County or in the Ashtabula Neighborhood in Ashtabula County to participate in interviews about how communities have been affected by COVID-19 and what they need to recover. Participants will be compensated for their time.

If you are interested in taking part in our study, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at or (614) 247-9585


Current Projects

Toward COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake and Equity

Community-Engaged Research to Reduce Hesitance and Alleviate Access Barriers in Vulnerable Communities

Our team is engaged in a mixed methods research and intervention project to address the two key factors that will limit COVID-19 vaccine use in vulnerable communities: vaccine hesitance among some individuals and groups, and access barriers among those who want to be vaccinated. We are investigating these challenges in communities of color (African American, Asian American, Latinx, and Immigrant communities) and other vulnerable groups (domestic violence survivors, homeless individuals, and others). Our central objective is to use a community-engaged approach to generate and disseminate both practical interventions and policy recommendations to drive high COVID-19 vaccine uptake in vulnerable communities, both by reducing vaccine hesitance and by alleviating structural barriers. Because our approach draws on the expertise of community leaders, works in partnership with community-based organizations to build trust in health-related research, and includes structural solutions, it will also set the stage for long-term reductions in health disparities related to and beyond COVID-19.

The Hardest Hit Communities Project

Defining and Pursuing “Protection” and “Recovery” from the Worst Health, Economic, and Social Impacts of COVID-19 in Ohio

Funded by a generous gift from a private College of Public Health donor and Women and Philanthropy at Ohio State
Prior research – by our team and others – has demonstrated clearly that certain local communities have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These “hardest hit” communities suffer substantial impacts in terms of COVID-19 exposures, cases and deaths, as well as job losses, setbacks in social infrastructure, and other hardships. These burdens have often exacerbated inequities that existed prior to the pandemic, compounding gaps in social and economic opportunity as well as poor social determinants of health. In response, the Hardest Hit Communities Project aims to understand and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 in several of the specific Ohio communities that have been most affected. The primary objectives of this research are to understand the shape of these impacts, how to protect such communities from future hardship, and what they need to recover. We are using multiple forms of up-to-date data to identify hardest hit communities, building relationships with key community partners, conducting interviews with community members in each locality, and developing both short- and longer-term strategies to protect selected communities from further harm and support community recovery.

COVID-19 Recovery for Domestic Violence Survivors and Service Organizations

An assessment to understand, from the perspective of domestic violence service providers, what is needed to help both service organizations and the survivors they serve recover from COVID-19. The purpose of the project in particular is to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) agencies. The assessment will be conducted through the implementation of a survey that seeks to gather information about the current needs of ODVN agencies to provide services for the victims of the domestic violence. More specifically, we are asking the agencies about the state of operations, changes in demand for services, financial constraints, etc. Responses will be then analyzed to gauge of level of the impact and immediate needs the agencies have to support the victims moving forward.

Storytelling in Latinx Communities

Using a three-phase strategy, this project aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among Latino/Hispanics in central Ohio. Collecting stories from Latino/Hispanic individuals is imperative to constructing culturally relevant messages. The narrative extracted from their stories will be used to produce an entertainment-education video, which will be distributed in Latino/Hispanic communities to measure changes in COVID-19 attitudes and behaviors. Increases in CDC recommended COVID-19 preventative individual behaviors, as well as the partnerships and interactions made with community members in the process of making the video narrative may lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 in the targeted Latino/Hispanic communities. This project is led by Ms. Kristina Medero, who is conducting it as a pre-dissertation research project.


Completed Projects

Asian American COVID-19 Vaccine Education Project

This project aimed to develop a COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign for Asian Americans in Ohio, by working with community leaders and community members. The project involved conducing focus groups and interviews to gather culturally-informed insights about attitudes, beliefs, concerns, and considerations. Based on this information, we worked with communities to help create educational materials (flyers, graphics, videos) and a dissemination plan. This project was led by Ms. Melinda Dang, and served as the Culminating Project for her Master of Public Health program.