2021-2022 Pilot Awardee

PI Name: Rima Afifi, PhD

Project Title: Harnessing Knowledge, Elevated Learnings: Iowa’s Experience Mitigating COVID-19

Dept/College: Department of Community & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa

Abstract: The objective of this qualitative pilot project is to deconstruct the COVID-19 response in the state of Iowa with the intent to learn lessons about effective action and areas of needed improvement. State level responses have differed across the US and the public health workforce has experienced significant burnout in responding to the pandemic and its impact. By using SenseMaker® ( the world’s first crowdsourcing method for human judgement, meaning, and feeling, we are collecting stories/narratives from local public health professionals/workforce in Iowa around their experiences of the pandemic with intent to uplift their commitment, document the response, and learn lessons for future pandemics. The University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH) in partnership with IPHA engaged with a planning team on the design of this research project. We conducted a pilot test of the project design in late fall 2021/early winter 2022 with approximately 20 public health professionals and asked for their input to adjust the design. A particular focus is how the COVID19 pandemic affected populations groups that are experiencing social or economic marginalization and how the social determinants of health were impacted by the crisis.  The full project will be implemented in winter-summer 2022. We anticipate that this ‘harnessing of knowledge’ will result in strategic planning and action to support communities and public health professionals in the continued response to COVID-19, and to other similar crises.