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Yale Internal Medicine Faculty Partner with Formerly Incarcerated Leaders to Obtain R01

December 18, 2022
by Julie Parry

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on many people in underserved communities, including those who are incarcerated or work in our nation’s prison systems. Infections across this community have been five times higher than in the general U.S. population. Surrounding communities have also been disproportionately affected.

Multiple principal investigators Lisa Puglisi, MD, assistant professor of medicine (general medicine) Yale School of Medicine; Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, FIDSA, Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) Yale School of Medicine; professor of epidemiology of microbial diseases, Yale School of Public Health; and DeAnna Hoskins, president and CEO of JustLeadershipUSA, the largest organization of previously incarcerated leaders, are leading a new R01 from the National Institutes of Health to address vaccination uptake across the prison population and correctional staff in Pennsylvania. Their project is entitled, “ADdressing Vaccine AcceptaNce in Carceral Settings through Community Engagement (ADVANCE).”

The goal is to identify feasible and effective interventions to improve vaccine uptake in prisons.

“All too often prisons and jails are siloed and excluded from public health efforts. This study provides an exciting opportunity to produce rigorous research on strategies to improve vaccine uptake in these marginalized populations that include incarcerated people and correctional staff,” said Puglisi.

The team will adapt the successful P3 vaccine acceptance model for healthcare practice into a P4 model for the incarcerated community: Patient, Provider, Practice, Prison-level framework.

“This study is an opportunity to develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions for increasing vaccination rates in a high-risk population,” Omer said.

They will use a community engaged approach to study whether vaccine acceptance improves when the strategy is developed in partnership with people directly impacted by the correctional system.

“Decisions about health and human flourishing are too often decided without directly impacted people at the table, but it's critically important to build trust by our voices being part of the conversation, in order to understand why and what drives the reluctance we may have to trusting the healthcare system,” said DeAnna Hoskins.

Other researchers on the grant include Yale’s Emily Wang, MD, MAS; New York University Langone’s Leora Horwitz, MD, MHS; Hsiu-ji Lin, PhD, of University of Connecticut; Columbia’s Bruce Western, PhD; and Bret Bucklen, PhD; of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

The Department of Internal Medicine at Yale is among the nation's premier departments, bringing together an elite cadre of clinicians, investigators, educators, and staff in one of the world's top medical schools. To learn more, visit Internal Medicine.

Submitted by Julie Parry on December 19, 2022