Webinar: Connecting with Underserved and Understudied Populations Through Research

Thursday, December 19, 2019

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm, ET


Although clinicians and researchers may struggle with defining underserved and understudied populations, it is clear that certain groups of patients, especially in rural communities, bring unique experiences to patients, clinicians, and researchers alike. The presenters will address strategies in better understanding three groups – patients from the homeless community, the LGBTQ+ community, and the Amish. These presenters have successfully engaged these populations in positive ways and have acquired important understanding. They will describe what they’ve learned and how other clinicians, faculty, and researchers may benefit from their work.

Following this webinar, participants will be able to:

  1. Enlist community partners in connecting with underserved and understudied populations.
  2. Identify local resources, existing relationships, and academic coaches who can assist with culturally appropriate interviews and surveys.
  3. Articulate at least two strategies for engaging community members in the design and implementation of research. 
  4. Consider patients’ desires and perspectives in the design and conduct of research projects.
  5. Join the Rural PREP community of practice in rural primary care health professions education and training


Nathaniel Ord, Med4
University of Washington School of Medicine

Nathaniel is a fourth-year medical student from Juneau, Alaska, attending the University of Washington. He is applying into family medicine this year and plans to return to Alaska to practice. He hopes to split time between clinical practice and working to improve healthcare delivery systems through business, innovation, and advocacy. Here is a link to the abstract of his microresearch project: “Homeless to housed, how does stable housing affect healthcare utilization and perceptions in residents of the Forget-Me-Not Manor, a housing first program in Juneau Alaska”.

Nicholas Pochedly, OMS3
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Nicholas is a third-year medical student at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is interested in healthcare inequalities and improving access to care. He plans to use his future work to create more collaboration between physicians and patients. Here is a link to the abstract of his microresearch project: “Identifying Barriers and Opportunities to Transform Rural Health Care for Gender Minorities.”

Melissa Thomas, PhD
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

Melissa has worked over 20 years in addressing health disparities through community-engaged research/outreach models with an emphasis in Amish and Mennonite communities.She is founding director of the nonprofit Center for Appalachia Research in Cancer Education and Assistant Professor at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Here is a link to her work with the Amish, including a recent photobook project, Live Through Their Lens: “The Center For Appalachia Research In Cancer Education.”