Influential commissioned for major project examining COVID-19 views of minority ethnic communities

Influential has been appointed to conduct a major new research project among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to help understand their views, attitudes and experiences of COVID-19.

The public health initiative, which has been commissioned by The Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership (C&MHCP), is aimed at helping shape future communications and interventions to reduce the devastating impact of COVID-19.

It has been launched in response to data showing that ethnic minority communities are disproportionately affected by the virus.

Research into survival rates among confirmed COVID-19 cases showed that people of Bangladeshi ethnicity were twice as likely to die from the virus, when compared to people of white British ethnicity. People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicity had between a 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to white British.

Through a three-phased process, Influential will identify, analyse and develop key insights, which will allow services to be tailored towards the specific needs of these diverse communities. The agency will also provide health officials with key recommendations on how to improve interventions, communications and engagement methods between the NHS and different minority ethnic groups.

Karen Swan, Director of Influential, said: “This is a major project which will have far-reaching implications on improving COVID -19 communications and interventions for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups across the region. Our research will examine the attitudes of these communities towards coronavirus and the vaccination programme; gain a better understanding of the cultural, behavioural and religious aspects that influence healthcare; and analyse the impact of current communication channels across black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

“It is essential we capture the views and attitudes of as many people as possible within these communities. We have given a great deal of thought on how to manage research projects to ensure we connect with communities who have historically been harder to reach. By integrating traditional research methods alongside multiple communications channels, our team can ensure we engage with audiences across a range of platforms to drive the maximum number of participants.”

Edna Boampong, Deputy Director of Communications and Engagement at the Cheshire and Merseyside Heath and Care Partnership, and Communications Lead for Cheshire and Merseyside’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, added: “Influential’s tender really stood out because of their strong expertise in both insights and communications; their unique multi-channel approach to the research project; and their concept of forming a conglomerate with other key agencies to ensure every angle was covered. Their integrated approach offered a fresh, unique and effective way of helping us gain invaluable insights from communities across the region.”

Influential’s insights, digital and PR teams are working in collaboration and targeting a wide range of communication channels to ensure they reach audiences from ethnic minority groups across the region.

The agency, which operates from bases in Manchester and Liverpool, has also brought on-board two expert partners to work alongside its team. ‘Big data’ firm Impact Data Metrics (IDM) will contribute its expertise in bespoke data intelligence, including creating a fresh ethnic profile of the area. While, cultural fieldwork specialists, Ethnic Opinions, will support the outreach programme and ensure the tone of all communications resonates with the target audience.

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