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Massey researchers expand statewide health disparities study to include COVID-19

Jul 31, 2020


Researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center are adding to an expansive study called Together for Health – Virginia to better understand how residents in our state have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program can be accessed through a mobile app available at the Apple App Store or Google Play (by searching Together for Health – Virginia) or online at Together for Health – Virginia.

Together for Health – Virginia is a comprehensive health assessment program designed to better understand how social and behavioral patterns as well as financial and environmental factors impact cancer rates in communities throughout the state. It was launched in February right before the COVID-19 pandemic swept our nation and disrupted life as we knew it. Now, months into the pandemic, the researchers are hoping to learn how residents in Virginia are coping.

“Everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but often in very different ways,” says Bernard Fuemmeler, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate director for cancer prevention and control and Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., Chair in Cancer Research at Massey as well as a professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at the VCU School of Medicine. “We’re trying to get a better understanding of how people are adapting their daily lives in response to the disease as well as their attitudes and feelings about it.”

Logo for Together for Health Virginia Program

A separate survey module containing coronavirus-related questions has been added to the Together for Health – Virginia app. Because it is part of the larger research effort, participants will need to enroll and complete the initial survey module before completing the COVID-19 module.

“Our goal has always been to establish a ‘virtual cohort’ of participants who are willing to partner with Massey Cancer Center over the course of a year or more,” says Fuemmeler. “We felt it was important to adapt and study how COVID-19 is impacting lives and all of the factors we initially set out to understand.”

Visit the Together for Health – Virginia website to join the project or to learn more.

Written by: John Wallace

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