Testing Communication Concepts on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Among Black and Latino/Hispanic People in the United States

This article was originally published here

J Ethnic-racial disparities in health. 2022 April 7. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01167-5. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Blacks and Latinx/Hispanics were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as whites, but due to the legacy of discrimination and mistreatment in health care, they were less likely to participate in certain public health responses to COVID-19, including contact tracing. This study aimed to test three communication campaign concepts to engage Blacks and Latinx/Hispanics in contact tracing efforts.

METHODS: Twelve focus groups with 5-10 participants each were conducted online among participants from urban Black and Latina/Hispanic populations in Philadelphia and New York State. Participants provided socio-demographic information and were presented with potential campaign concepts and asked to evaluate the concepts and engage in an open discussion. For scoring and socio-demographic data, chi-square tests were performed. For open discussion data, a thematic analysis approach was used.

RESULTS: Across all groups, the campaign concept that was found to be most likely to encourage cooperation with contact tracing efforts was “Be the only one,” with 45% of the total votes in first place. Participants said the campaign grabbed their attention (79%), motivated them to engage with contact tracers (71%) and tell others about contact tracing (77%). Discussions also elucidated: the importance of community engagement; the need for clearer explanations of contact tracing; preference for already reliable community contact tracers; the need to reassure people about confidentiality; and for contact tracing to be culturally competent and empathetic.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights how strategic and culturally sensitive communication can strengthen current and future contact tracing efforts, particularly among Blacks and Latinx/Hispanics.

PMID:35391715 | DOI:10.1007/s40615-021-01167-5