For Black and Latinx participants, watching public health video messages recorded by a diverse set of physicians reduces COVID-19 knowledge gaps, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Marcella Alsan, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial in the United States from May 13 to 26, 2020, involving 14,267 self-identified Black or Latinx adults (61.3 and 38.7 percent, respectively). The participants viewed three video messages relating to COVID-19, which varied by race/ethnicity of the physician, acknowledgement of racism/inequality, and community perceptions relating to mask wearing and then answered questions, or they answered questions and then viewed the videos. Knowledge gaps (number of errors on seven facts relating to COVID-19 symptoms and prevention) and information-seeking behaviors were measured.
The researchers found that the intervention reduced the incidence of knowledge gap from 0.085 to 0.065 (incidence rate ratio, 0.737) but did not have a significant effect on the incidence of information seeking. Messages from race/ethnic-concordant physicians increased information-seeking incidence among Black participants, from 0.329 (for discordant physicians) to 0.357 (incidence rate ratio, 1.085).
“The findings provide evidence that, especially in a moment when a novel human-to-human virus is disproportionately affecting communities of color, a diverse physician workforce can be an effective channel to communicate life-saving information,” the authors write.
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