Black Women Consulting to Advance Addiction Research and Engagement

ORGANIZATION NAME: Community Catalyst
PROJECT NAME: Black Women Consulting to Advance Addiction Research and Engagement
PROJECT LEAD: Alice Dembner, Community Catalyst

PCORI Project Workplan and Timeline – Engagement Award: Capacity Building

(October 2021 Cycle)

Engagement Award: Capacity Building (October 2021 Cycle)

Project Summary

Background: The drug overdose death rate is especially high for people returning to the community from incarceration, and even higher for women. This makes Black women, who represent 13% of the US population but 29% of the 231,000 women incarcerated, particularly vulnerable. Black women with lived experience of substance use disorders (SUD) and criminal-legal system involvement (CLSI) are often left out of PCOR/CER that could improve treatment, services and
outcomes. Many are reluctant to participate in research due to the harm to Black people from past scientific research.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: Community Catalyst (CC), a non-profit national advocacy organization, in partnership with Black Faces Black Voices (BFBV), a national collaborative of Black SUD recovery professionals, proposes to increase engagement in PCOR/CER of Black women with a history of SUD and CLSI, so that research better addresses their priorities and needs, and leads to improved treatment outcomes. We will focus on patient engagement in 5 states – Georgia, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas – to identify recommendations to be used nationwide. This would
result in PCOR/CER that drives culturally effective care and increased survival post-incarceration of Black women with SUD.

Objectives: Engage Black women with lived experience of SUD and CLSI in focus groups, in PCOR/CER training sessions, in shaping recommendations/engagement strategies shared in a report, and in establishing a Consulting Corps to advise future PCOR/CER. The women will identify priority research topics/outcomes for research, propose ways to reduce barriers to engaging Black women in PCOR/CER, and advise researchers on new projects.

Activities: Educate Black women recovery leaders and peer recovery staffers about PCOR/CER so they can be PCOR/CER ambassadors; support the leaders to conduct focus groups of Black women with SUD and CLSI to inform a Recommendations Report on priority topics, outcomes, and engagement strategies for Black women with SUD and CLSI; establish a Consulting Corps of Black women with SUD and CLSI to inform PCOR/CER projects.

Outcomes: Recommendations Report on engagement strategies, priority topics/outcomes derived from the participating Black women disseminated nationally to 100,000 stakeholders; Consulting Corps of 8 Black women in recovery, plus researcher and clinician liaisons, prepared to advise PCOR/CER , and introduced nationally; 125 peer recovery staffers are PCOR/CER ambassadors to recovery communities. Long term, we expect PCOR/CER will include robust participation by and focus on Black women with lived experience of SUD and CLSI that drives comprehensive care
models providing culturally effective treatment and better outcomes.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Black Faces Black Voices co-designed this project with CC and identified Black women recovery leaders to help shape it. The leaders will run focus groups of Black women with lived experience of SUD and CSLI. The Corps will be drawn from the recovery leaders and focus groups. CC will write the report based on the focus group findings and input from BFBV, the recovery leaders, the Corps and research/clinical project advisors. All project participants will participate in dissemination.

Project Collaborators: BFBV and prominent researchers who committed to hire the Corps and use project findings. Dr. Miriam Komaromy, a leading clinician/researcher, is serving as special advisor.

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