Implementing expanded COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts community health centers through community partnerships: Protocol for an interrupted time series and stepped wedge study design

Contemp Clin Trials. 2022 May 6:106783. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2022.106783. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Community Health Centers (CHCs) are a critical source of care for low-income and non-privately insured populations. During the pandemic, CHCs have leveraged their infrastructure and role as a trusted source of care to engage the communities they serve in COVID-19 testing.

METHODS: To directly address the impact that COVID-19 has had on historically marginalized populations in Massachusetts, we designed a study of community-engaged COVID-19 testing expansion: (1) leveraging existing partnerships to accelerate COVID-19 testing and rapidly disseminate effective implementation strategies; (2) incorporating efforts to address key barriers to testing participation in communities at increased risk for COVID-19; (3) further developing partnerships between communities and CHCs to address testing access and disparities; (4) grounding the study in the development of a shared ethical framework for advancing equity in situations of scarcity; and (5) developing mechanisms for communication and science translation to support community outreach. We use a controlled interrupted time series design, comparing number of COVID-19 tests overall and among people identified as members of high-risk groups served by intervention CHCs compared with six matched control CHCs in Massachusetts, followed by a stepped wedge design to pilot test strategies for tailored outreach by CHCs.

CONCLUSIONS: Here, we describe a community-partnered strategy to accelerate COVID-19 testing in historically marginalized populations that provides ongoing resources to CHCs for addressing testing needs in their communities. The study aligns with principles of community-engaged research including shared leadership, adequate resources for community partners, and the flexibility to respond to changing needs over time.

PMID:35533978 | PMC:PMC9076025 | DOI:10.1016/j.cct.2022.106783


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