Social distancing and “lockdown” measures introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic created barriers to recruitment and engagement of community members in research activities. Information technology tools were quickly introduced to allow for virtual participation of stakeholders in research. Vulnerable populations, namely communities with limited access to resources or at a higher risk to experience bias or discrimination, were less likely to engage in such virtual research initiatives. Informatics tools have the potential to support these populations, but existing disparities require a careful consideration of engagement strategies. We discuss three case studies of ongoing research projects targeting vulnerable populations and highlight the role of informatics in facilitating engagement. Target populations include family caregivers of hospice patients, low-income older adults and patients with dementia and their families. We describe strategies to overcome unique challenges introduced by the pandemic, and ways to build a more resilient future.
IOS Press, Inc.
6751 Tepper Drive
Clifton, VA 20124
Tel.: +1 703 830 6300
Fax: +1 703 830 2300 email@example.com
(Corporate matters and books only) IOS Press c/o Accucoms US, Inc.
For North America Sales and Customer Service
West Point Commons
Lansdale PA 19446
Tel.: +1 866 855 8967
Fax: +1 215 660 5042 firstname.lastname@example.org