COVID-19 Uncovers Engagement and Equity Opportunities

COVID-19 has changed the way of life for everyone and healthcare is no exception. Because of the pandemic, hospitals have forced to significantly reduce the number of patient visitors (friends and family), thus increasing the need for attention to patient satisfaction and improvements in quality care.

ATW Health Solutions (, an 8(a), and WOSB, is led by experts who understand the challenges healthcare systems and communities are facing today.  2CEERIAS is a research-based project funded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) with ATW subcontracted partners Discern Health, Dr. Shyam Prabakahan (University of Chicago), and Dr. Neelum Aggarwal (RUSH).  This COVID-19 work focuses on a community-based approach to engaging and educating at-risk acute stroke patients about the signs and symptoms of stroke in an effort to get them to care timely.  Shelter in Place and social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic have imposed risks to access to care and treatment for persons with chronic and acute conditions, including stroke.  Additionally, research has demonstrated significant disparities in outcomes among ethnic minority groups and the potential manifestation of stroke in COVID-19 cases.

2CEERIAS has activated its partnership with Apostle Carl White of the Southland Ministerial Health Network and 20 other Chicago-based Stroke Promoters to develop, design, and disseminate COVID-19 messaging about stroke aimed to influence the actions and behaviors related to health system engagement. As a result of this work, ATW Health Solutions has significantly improved the knowledge of at-risk Black and Latino persons by creating and facilitating culturally supported education interventions using virtual platforms.  On average, 2CEERIAS post-survey participant’s response to calling 9-1-1 improved by 20% than the pre-survey responses. 

Accordingly, because of ATW Health’s commitment to improving outcomes for ethnic minority communities, the team is also partnering with the National Minority Quality Forum to assist in recruiting Black patients into a COVID-19 clinical trial.  Ensuring representation of the Black community in science and research is critical to eliminating disparities.

When the stakes are high, interactions between patients, providers and caregivers are vital to successful outcomes.  Beneficiary and stakeholder engagement strategies should ensure quality and positive interactions, otherwise, the result could significantly reduce the overall quality of care for patients.  Considering the long-standing stigma of mistrust among ethnic minority populations and the implications of COVID-19 vaccinations, having the right approach toward community and patient engagement is critical for success.  ATW Health Solutions staff are masterful at understanding consumer engagement and can provide technical assistance for your organizational education, research and engagement requirements. 

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