Key Stakeholder Perspectives of Community Engagement Efforts and the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Lily Huang, Tiera Cleveland, Kristin Clift, Jason S. Egginton, Laura Pacheco-Spann, Matthew G. Johnson, Monica Albertie, Lilliana D. Cardenas, Sean M. Phelan, Megan A. Allyse, Amelia K. Barwise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected historically marginalized populations and their access to resources and healthcare. In times of crisis, authentic community engagement is more important than ever. This study was Phase 1 of a larger 3-phase study to conduct timely community-engaged research with community members to understand the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on historically underserved communities. The objective of this work was to conduct key informant (KI) interviews (1) to understand community organizations perspectives about the role that large academic health centers play as they interface with community organizations to support their work, (2) to leverage KI’s expertise to identify needs and assets within the community, and (3) to inform both Phase 2 (focus group qualitative research) and Phase 3 (survey) of the broader study. Methods: A total of 24 key informants were identified through purposeful sampling and one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted across 4 states using video conferencing. Results: Barriers to access and lack of transparency were highlighted as major issues requiring reform—in particular, aggressive billing practices and insurance barriers exacerbated local distrust of medical institutions. KIs recognized the health institution’s support for testing and vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, but noted other significant gaps in care, especially regarding mental health support. Although communication with the health institution was consistent for some KIs, others experienced unsustained communication efforts that hindered cooperation and relationship building. Conclusions: Leaders in the community as key stakeholders can provide unique insights into the challenges and potential solutions required to promote health equity, and foster understanding between local communities and healthcare institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
StatePublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • access to care
  • community engagement
  • key informants
  • qualitative data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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