New grant for CAMER faculty lead Sijia Yang

New grant awarded by ICTR to CAMER faculty lead Sijia Yang and his team to help reduce vaccine hesitancy in rural communities in Wisconsin and beyond. Yang serves as co-investigator.

Stakeholder and Patient Engaged Research Pilot Award

Community Co-Design and Pilot Test of Public Health Messages Addressing Pediatric Vaccine Hesitancy in Rural America
Malia Jones, PhD; College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Academic Collaborators: Susan Passmore, UW SMPH; Sijia Yang, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

UW Program Partners: UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity

Community Collaborators: Wisconsin Head Start Association, Wisconsin Council of Churches, Southwestern WI Community Action Program

Vaccines have safely prevented millions of cases of childhood illness, but vaccine hesitancy is a growing problem. Compared to suburban areas, routine kids’ vaccination rates were lower in rural areas before COVID-19, and many children fell behind in their vaccination schedule amidst the disruptions of the pandemic. Evidence-based strategies for addressing vaccine hesitancy include culturally-competent tailored messaging. However, little is known about the ideological frames, barriers, and context of vaccine-hesitant rural Wisconsin parents. This interdisciplinary team will build on research expertise in vaccine hesitancy, methodologies to study health message design, effective delivery, behavioral change, and the social construction of trust. To identify effective messages to address pediatric vaccine hesitancy in rural parents, they will apply a stakeholder-engaged co-design process with three community partners with insights into the needs of their communities. The health promotion messages will then be tested in a national panel of rural-living parents. Results will be shared with community partners and local public health departments.