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Susan Dorr Goold
C. Daniel Myers
Eric G. Campbell
René Pérez Rosenbaum
Hyungjin Myra Kim
Zachary E. Rowe
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Context: A major contributor to health disparities is the relative lack of resources—including resources for science—allocated to address the health problems of those with disproportionately greater needs. Engaging and involving underrepresented communities in setting research priorities could make the scientific research agenda more equitable, more just, and more responsive to their needs and values.We engaged minority and underserved communities in informed deliberations and report here their priorities for health research.
Methods: Academic-community partnerships adapted the simulation exercise CHAT for setting health research priorities.We had participants from minority and medically underserved communities (47 groups, n = 519) throughout Michigan deliberate about health research priorities, and we used surveys and CHAT software to collect the demographic characteristics and priorities selected by individuals and groups.
Findings: The participants ranged in age (18 to 88), included more women than men, and were overrepresented by minority groups. Nearly all the deliberating groups selected child health and mental health research (93.6% and 95.7%), and most invested at the highest level. Aging, access, promote health, healthy environment, and what causes disease were also prioritized by groups. Research on mental health and child health were high priorities for individuals both before and after group deliberations. Access was the only category more likely to be selected by individuals after group deliberation (77.0 vs 84.0%, OR = 1.63, p = .005), while improve research, health policy, and culture and beliefs were less likely to be selected after group deliberations (all, p < .001). However, the level of investment in many categories changed after the group deliberations. Participants identifying as Black/African American were less likely to prioritize mental health research, and those of Other race were more likely to prioritize culture and beliefs research.
Conclusions: Minority and medically underserved communities overwhelmingly prioritized mental health and child health research in informed deliberations about spending priorities.
Keywords: resource allocation, minority groups, decision making, research priorities, deliberation, deliberative democracy, community engagement.
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Volume 96, Issue 4 (pages 675-705) DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.12354 Published in 2018
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.