With support from the VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research, the Center on Society and Health hosted a seminar Thursday, May 11th for research and community partners interested in patient-centered outcomes research. The event attracted about 50 researchers and students from across the VCU campus interested in how to facilitate stakeholder derived research agendas and address community-identified needs.
Dr. Christopher Gayer, Patient Centered Research Outcomes Institute (PCORI) Program Officer, offered audience members advice regarding PCORI funding opportunities before the Center’s Director of Community Engaged Research, Dr. Emily Zimmerman, presented on the PCORI-funded SEED Method Project.
The SEED Method for Stakeholder Engagement in Question Development and Prioritization began in 2014 after the Center was awarded a $1.04 million grant from PCORI to test this new method for conceptualizing and prioritizing research questions on health related topics through collaborative, participatory, and consultative stakeholder engagement.
For the past several years the SEED Method has undergone two demonstrations—one in Richmond, VA focused on diet and behavioral management of diabetes and hypertension, and the second in Martinsville, VA centered on lung cancer outcomes. The research teams from the two demonstrations consisted of community partners who have been trained in qualitative research methods. These research teams—Engaging Richmond and Engaging Martinsville—selected and recruited participants, facilitated meetings, focus groups and interviews, and analyzed the collected data.
Research questions emerged from these stakeholder groups, which the research team refined by identifying gaps in the literature. These stakeholder derived research questions are now available for researchers to investigate. For example, Fatemah Zarghami, a Virginia Tech graduate student assisting with the project, will partner with an area hospital to conduct her dissertation on barriers to lung cancer screening beyond physician referrals, a research area generated through the Martinsville SEED Method demonstration.
In addition to conducting several demonstrations of the SEED Method, the Center has been conducting ongoing evaluations of the method itself. The evaluation involves a mixed methods approach to assess team dynamics, satisfaction with trainings, research group and stakeholder readiness and group dynamics, etc. through a variety of surveys and interviews.
Team members from both demonstrations were present at Thursday’s event and felt that the SEED Method accomplished what it set out to do in their communities. Dawn Moser, project coordinator for the Martinsville SEED Method demonstration and proud citizen of Martinsville, VA, noted, “It’s exciting to see how anyone can be used in this process, so long as they have passion.”