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SHIFT: Documenting the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Peer Researchers

In partnership with Dr Zack Marshall (and his research partners, the Pacific AIDS Network (PAN)), the Centre for Community Based research will co-create a participatory research design for the SSHRC-funded project “COVID-19 and Peer Researchers in Community-Based HIV Research – Identifying Impacts and Opportunities for Change.”


The objective of this grant is to document how the COVID-19 crisis was impacting the lives of peer researchers in HIV Community Based Research and to identify how to minimize the indirect consequences of the pandemic by highlighting key recommendations for academic researchers, staff working in HIV community-based organizations, and importantly, peer researchers themselves. This study operates across two phases. In phase I, the project will conduct arts-based/popular-education informed online focus groups with 4-6 participants per group (total of 24-36 participants) bringing together peer researchers from key regions of the country including Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Questions will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on income, social isolation, mental health, and HIV treatment with recommendations for how to minimize the impact of the pandemic going forward. The Centre for Community-Based Research will co-moderate focus groups with HIV peer researchers, and work with team members to co-analyze the data.


In Phase II, the project will share the recommendations with academic HIV CBR researchers, HIV healthcare providers, and peer researchers themselves through established communities of practice including the quarterly HIV CBR peer gathering organized by the Pacific AIDS Network, the monthly HIV Stigma Index webinar hosted by REACH, and the nationally recognized Pozcast podcast.