In preparation for their upcoming formal presentation to the 14th International Conference of the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health Research Apprentices Sherron Dortch, Valerie Grimes, and Carla Taylor together with Research Technician, Marcellus Hudson and Research Assistants, Lynette Parker and Andrea Hudson, spoke to members of the Health Disparities Research Group during the April meeting. They provided the HDRG members with an overview of their work with the Sentinel Surveillance Project which is currently being conducted by the CHC Research Core under the leadership of Dr. Martha Arrieta.
The discussion highlighted the research training experienced by the Research Apprentices who are members of the community who have a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, but no prior formal education in the research process. Additionally, the group provided an overview of the Sentinel Surveillance Project and why the inclusion of community members as a part of the research team is integral to meeting the goals of and adhering to the values of community-based participatory research. Structured in an interview format, the team described recruitment and training of research apprentices, the work done in collecting, managing, and analyzing data gathered from the community.
While describing their participation in the research team, the various research apprentices discussed both what they had brought to the research project and what they had learned. Sherron Dortch, a senior research apprentice, stated that her attention to detail and strong organizational skills allowed her to focus on quality data management while at the same time providing her with the opportunity to develop computer skills. At the same time, Sherron shared that through this research project she developed a deeper awareness and understanding of the health disparities that exist in a neighborhood and community where many of her friends and relatives live. This sentiment was echoed by Valerie Grimes and Carla Taylor who also work as Research Apprentices.
Marcellus Hudson, currently a Research Technician II with the Research Core, described his journey from Research Apprentice to a full-time staff member at the University. He talked about the many ways the experience provided avenues to foster his interest in computer programming and further enhanced his desire to learn and pursue his education. Marcellus also talked about the importance of uncovering the health situation in the community where he and many of his relatives live.
The research team will next make their presentation to an international audience of researchers and community members at the 14th International Conference of the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. The presentation will take place on Thursday, May 12, at 3:30 pm. If you are in New Orleans, the team would love to see you there!