NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A virtual study is seeking to learn what impacts the coronavirus pandemic has had on the lives of Virginians and their communities.
The digital COVIDsmart study launched Monday.
It will use advanced health research technology to examine health, well-being, social and economic effects of COVID-19 on people of all walks of life, according to a joint news release.
The effort is sponsored by Eastern Virginia Medical School-Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute (HADSI), George Mason University, and health technology company Vibrent Health.
Researchers hope participation in the survey will help participants, researchers and public health entities better understand and address the impacts of the pandemic and future health crises.
The study asks participants questions such as “Over the past 30 days, has your consumption of alcohol increased, decreased, or remained the same?” and “How likely are you to want to receive COVID-19 vaccination?”
COVIDsmart’s anonymized results will also be sent to researchers and public health policy officials to help them identify at-risk communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, the release said.
“Minimizing the impact of future pandemics on you and your community requires a deeper understanding of how COVID has affected you – even if you or those you know have not been infected by COVID-19. Everyone can make a difference during this pandemic by contributing to research. Sharing important information not just about your health but how you’ve been impacted emotionally, socially, economically, and other ways will help inform decisions that benefit all of us,” said Sunita Dodani, MBBS, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Director of HADSI and member of the Federation of American Scientists’ COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force.
Officials say COVIDsmart is different from other COVID-19-related studies because it will give back aggregate de-identified study data to participants. That will allow them to see how to pandemic has impacted them and their community.
If a participant’s answers reveal they are suffering from depression, anxiety or insomnia, they will be linked to telehealth or other help right away.
The study hopes to have a diverse group of participants when it comes to age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race and culture.
“Diversity in COVID-19 research is essential for the public health decision-makers to accurately address disparities, such as infection rates, access to testing, health care, unemployment and availability of support services,” said Amira Roess, an epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University.. “Our goal with COVIDsmart is to gain and share knowledge that will aid public health organizations in giving guidance and dedicating resources that will help minimize the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and any other future health crises among individuals, their families and communities.”
The study also uses a a privacy-protecting, secure platform, provided by Vibrent Health.
Those who wish to participate need to be at least 18 years old and living in Virginia. COVIDsmart offers gift card drawings for those who are active in the study.
To learn more about COVIDsmart, visit the study website.