UNF receives grant to research COVID-19 telehealth disparity among minorities

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida announced Monday it was among 15 to win COVID-19 research grants funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant program is to ensure that researchers have the resources they need to leverage the COVID-19 Research Database to study the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19, UNF said.

The funding will go towards a project on “Telehealth Disparity: Investigating the Predictors for Low Utilization among Minority Populations.” UNF researchers include Dr. Cynthia Williams, health administration associate professor in the Brooks College of Health, and Dr. Richard Shang, management assistant professor in the Coggin College of Business.

Their research will investigate social determinants of health, health status and health behavioral causes for low telehealth utilization. Drs. Williams and Shang will examine cross-cultural factors, gender differences and other social factors that contribute to inequities in access and health outcomes.  This work will inform socially and culturally sensitive interventions to promote equity in technology-enabled healthcare among minority populations.

The goal is to accelerate evidence for policies that mitigate the effects of the current pandemic and strengthen future disaster preparedness. The grant program received hundreds of applications from 20 different countries.

UNF research will begin this summer and will be featured in the COVID-19 Research Database Grand Rounds webinar series later this year.