Virtual research with urban Native young women: Cautionary tales in the time of a pandemic

Online Publication Date:
January 21, 2022
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
Manuscript PDF File:

**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 16.2S. All rights reserved.**

Background: Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a particularly powerful approach to research with American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities who have been subject to a history of mistreatment and unethical research. In person meetings, discussion, and engagement with tribal members and the community have become an essential component of CBPR in AIAN communities. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, AIAN communities have moved to close or sharply curtail in-person activities, precluding in-person research methods. Current best practices for research with AIAN communities assumes in-person engagement; little guidance exists on engaging AIAN communities in research using virtual technologies. Our study, Native WYSE CHOICES, was intentionally designed prior to the pandemic to be virtual, including recruitment, enrollment, intervention, and assessment with urban AIAN young women.
Objectives: We present our perspectives on virtual research with AIAN communities, including the critical role of our advisory partners to inform the virtual intervention design and recruitment methods in the formative stages of our project.
Methods: Experiential reflection among research team and community partners.
Conclusion: Virtual technologies, such as videoconferencing, social media, and mobile health apps, offer many tools to reach communities, especially in a pandemic. The virtualization of research with AIAN communities requires a significant investment in time, resources and planning to mitigate disadvantages; it cannot fully replace in-person-based CBPR approaches, but may offer many strengths and unique advantages for research, especially in a pandemic.