Rule and Martin received a Community Engagement Grant through the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) for a study involving Latinx community outreach to better understand the facilitators and barriers to care and prevention of COVID-19 infection. In the process of putting that team together, Christine O’Dea, MD, from the Department of Family and Community Medicine recommended Horner because of her deep involvement in the Latinx community.
“Shaina was the first community health worker research assistant who joined our team,” says Rule. “She was amazing, she really carried that first part of our project. She did the majority of our interviews and a ton of our surveys. She really helped us make connections with other partners.”
Around the same time, Rule and Martin were brought on as study collaborators by Fichtenbaum and Powers-Fletcher who wanted as diverse a population as possible for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial. Having already worked with Rule and Martin on the CCTST grant, for Horner it was a natural transition to tap into her connections in the Latinx community to achieve that diversity goal for the trial.
“With the Moderna trial, I was trying to increase participation from within the Latinx community and make sure there was awareness about both the trial and vaccines in that community,” Horner says. “One of the strategies that I used that was really effective was social media. I did interviews on three different social media pages to raise awareness in the Latinx community. The Latinx community is very relational, and it takes a long time to build that trust with people. So when they build relationships with agencies or people that they follow for trusted information, if you can connect with them, it’s a great opportunity to share trusted information through trusted sources. The majority of people who were primarily Spanish speakers who got involved in the study happened as the result of those connections.”