UST Research Team’s Work Accepted for Publication Through Prestigious International Conference
A team of three University of St. Thomas-Houston researchers have had their scholarly work accepted for publication through the prestigious International Technology, Education and Development (INTED) organization. The paper is titled: “COVID-19: Roadmap to Reaching all Communities Especially the Vulnerable.” The researchers are UST Adjunct Professor Michelle Carnahan, who coordinated the research team; and Masters of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) graduate students Lisa Gilmore and Tristan Crayton.
International Conference Representing 80 Countries
They will present their paper at the March 7-8, 2022, 16th Annual INTED Conference, where more than 80 countries will be represented. Professor Carnahan is already familiar with the process, having presented for INTED before in 2020 in Valencia, Spain.
“This time, our topic is an ongoing public health issue, but it became very highly monitored during the COVID-19 response,” Carnahan said. “During the summer of 2021, Tristan and Lisa were working with me on the Harris County Public Health liaison team, and we highly focused on outreach, testing and vaccine efforts to reach vulnerable communities.”
Overcoming Giant Research Obstacles
Theirs was an enormous task. The team’s paper examines the challenge of reaching the entire community, especially vulnerable populations, during the global pandemic response. They used the densely populated international community of Harris County as their research focus. The county contains 34 cities, encompasses 1,777 square miles, has 4.7 million residents and 145 spoken languages.
The immense effort involved elected officials, international consulates, community leaders, and faith and culturally based organizations. In addition, it necessarily included the development of information in a multitude of native languages, which proved to be a crucial tool for promoting local response efforts.
In-Person Contact Trumped Social Media
“Despite our society’s reliance on social media, we found it was the in-person connections, such as the church or local market that helped motivate people in vulnerable communities to get vaccinated,” grad student-researcher Lisa Gilmore said. “And it’s exciting to be published internationally and know that our quantified strategies can be replicated successfully around the world.”
Part of an Impactful MPPA Education
Graduate student Tristan Crayton, also a high school teacher, said, “As a graduate student, it’s amazing to be able to use the education I’m getting in such an impactful way. I would never have had the experience and acquired such meaningful knowledge and skills if I were not in the St. Thomas MPPA program. Also, from this experience, I now understand the process of applying for professional conferences. And this type of research will help me in my intended career post-MPPA as a policy analyst or perhaps a professor.”
UST Bold Education
Crayton and Gilmore will now be published academically, a feather in their graduate caps. And they, along with Carnahan, have contributed quantified findings of substance regarding various ways to reach vulnerable populations effectively.