The COVID CommUNITY – First Nations study is being conducted to understand the immune response and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and have worse outcomes from COVID-19 infection compared to other groups.
The study also aims to understand why some people are not as confident in the COVID-19 vaccine as others, and to document the overall impact of COVID-19 in these communities. The study will also provide insight into how a pandemic of this scale can be prevented in these communities and other vulnerable populations.
Participants for the study are being recruited from First Nations communities:
i From vaccination or assessment centres and;
ii By re-contacting participants (18+) from our on-going prospective cohort studies via telephone/email.
Dried blood spots for assessment of antibodies to COVID vaccination are being assessed from all participants.
Other investigators on this study include:
Sonia Anand is a Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University; Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity in McMaster’s Department of Medicine; Director of McMaster’s Population Genomics Program; inaugural Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society; and Director, Chanchlani Research Centre for Global Health at McMaster, among other roles.
Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. Sonia has published more than 200 articles in peer review journals. Shas been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Russell De Souza, a registered dietitian and nutritional epidemiologist, focuses his research on dietary factors that influence chronic disease throughout the lifespan, with a particular interest in macronutrients, dietary patterns and cardiovascular disease.
He received his doctoral degree in nutritional epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed post-doctoral training in systematic reviews and randomized trial methodology jointly at McMaster University, and at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
Director, Statistics; Senior Scientist
Shrikant Bangdiwala, PhD, has extensive experience in the design, conduct and analysis of multi-center observational and experimental studies, having worked on clinical and community-based randomized controlled trials in congestive heart failure, cardiovascular risk factors, functional bowel disease, and obesity prevention. His statistical research interests include non-parametric methods, methodology for clinical trials, reliability and validity of diagnostic tests, and graphical methods for descriptive analyses.
A Professor in McMaster University’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, he is a former Fulbright senior specialist in global public health, and holds faculty positions in universities in Chile, South Africa and India.
He is a member of the USA NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “COVID-19 Preventive mAb Data and Safety Monitoring Board” (DSMB) that will be reviewing and monitoring the US government-supported clinical trials of candidate preventive monoclonal Antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. He also chairs the Multinational DSMB for the division of AIDS at NIH, and is a member of the Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA.
Dipika Desai oversees many epidemiologic studies, including the South Asian birth cohort, START, the South Asian Heart Risk Assessment (SAHARA), and the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds (CAHHM), as well as management assistance and oversight in the utilization of samples from a number of other studies.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from the M S University in Baroda, India, and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia.
Senior Research Coordinator
Jodi Miller has more than 15 years experience in academic research. She has been at PHRI since 2012 where she has coordinated large international industry and investigator initiated trials. In her current role she coordinates clinical trials and clinical quality assurance projects in stroke.
Jodi has a BSc in Physics from Mount Allison University and a PhD in Medical Biophysics with a focus on magnetic resonance imaging applications from Western University.
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