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Rutgers' Cancer Health Justice Lab produces coronavirus video in Spanish for Latinx community

Pamela Valera, assistant professor in the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and founding director of the Cancer Health Justice Lab, said their team created this video to provide Latinx families with additional coronavirus disease (COVID-19) resources. – Photo by Rutgers School of Public Health / Facebook

The Rutgers School of Public Health’s Cancer Health Justice Lab has created an educational coronavirus disease (COVID-19) video in Spanish for Latinx families who lack the resources to make informed health decisions during the pandemic, according to a press release.

Pamela Valera, assistant professor in the Department of Urban-Global Public Health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and founding director of the Cancer Health Justice Lab, said the pandemic has had a major impact on the Latinx community, especially when compared to other racial or ethnic groups.

“In the summer of 2020 and during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Latinx families had very few resources to help them make informed health and safety decisions,” she said, according to the release.

The video provides essential information on COVID-19, including details on symptoms and risks, vulnerable populations and preventative measures. It includes Spanish and English subtitles as well.

The Cancer Health Justice Lab team created the video after conducting a study involving three focus groups, including one made up of English-speaking individuals and another made up of Spanish-speaking individuals to discuss questions about COVID-19 that the team wanted to address, said lab member Lashida Barnes, a Rutgers graduate student.

The team found that the Spanish-speaking community experienced difficulties with getting information on COVID-19, she said.

“We decided … to develop this video because there's an urgent need,” Barnes said. “Even though we're so far in the pandemic, it will still help some people out who may not have been aware of what's out there."

The lab has also made educational YouTube videos about cancer in the past. Lab member Sarah Malarkey, a Rutgers graduate student, said videos are an accessible form of education that delivers information to the public in layman’s terms.

“Oftentimes, especially (with) people who may not have primary care or may not have a scientific background … you just need a good YouTube video of what is the basis (of the issue),” she said.

Malarkey said the mission of the lab is to find and solve inequities in cancer as well as prevent cancer disparities from occurring. Though, she said the multidisciplinary approach taken by the lab allows for them to incorporate many different people from different backgrounds and go beyond the scope of cancer alone, making such projects as the COVID-19 video possible.

The lab team hopes their COVID-19 video provides the Latinx community with valid and accurate information about the disease and symptoms to look out for, Valera said.

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