From the national to the local: Issues of trust and a model for community-academic-engagement

Olufunmilayo Chinekezi, Lauri Andress, Etsemaye P. Agonafer, Susan Massick, Sarah Piepenbrink, Karey M. Sutton, Philip M. Alberti, Desiree de la Torre, Shannon Guillot-Wright, Marshala Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Inequities in health and health care in the United States have persisted for decades, and the impacts on equity from the COVID-19 pandemic were no exception. In addition to the disproportionate burden of the disease across various populations, the pandemic posed several challenges, which exacerbated these existing inequities. This has undoubtedly contributed to deeply rooted public mistrust in medical research and healthcare delivery, particularly among historically and structurally oppressed populations. In the summer of 2020, given the series of social injustices posed by the pandemic and highly publicized incidents of police brutality, notably the murder of George Floyd, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) enlisted the help of a national collaborative, the AAMC Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence (CHARGE)1 to establish a three-way partnership that would gather and prioritize community perspectives and lived experiences from multiple regions across the US on the role of academic medicals centers (AMCs) in advancing health and social justice. Given physical gathering constraints posed by the pandemic, virtual interviews were conducted with 30 racially and ethnically diverse community members across the country who expressed their views on how medical education, clinical care, and research could or did impact their health experiences. These interviews were framed within the context of the relationship between historically oppressed groups and the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials underway. From the three-way partnership formed with the AAMC, AAMC CHARGE participants, and 30 community members from racially and ethnically diverse groups, qualitative methods provided lived experiences supporting other literature on the lack of trust between oppressed communities and AMCs. This led to the development of the Principles of Trustworthiness (PoT) Toolkit, which features ten principles inspired by community members' insights into how AMCs can demonstrate they are worthy of their community's trust2. In the end, the three-way partnership serves as a successful model for other national medical and health organizations to establish community engaged processes that elicit and prioritize lived experiences describing relationships between AMCs and oppressed communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1068425
Pages (from-to)1068425
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Jul 3 2023


  • community engagement
  • health equity
  • healthcare
  • social justice
  • trustworthiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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