The Milwaukee Collaboration Project held its first Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting in August. The CAB is comprised of African American professionals, residents of Milwaukee, and other state and national public health leaders. The CAB will play an integral role in this project, guiding the proposed research aimed to help African Americans who want to quit using tobacco succeed. The group discussed project goals, challenges, and how to collaborate.
UW-CTRI is partnering with the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation on this project. The project is supported by the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (UW ICTR).
Lorraine Lathen, WAATPN director and long-time collaborator with UW-CTRI, is chairing the CAB and leading its development.
CAB members shared their experiences using or being around tobacco, and what it means to be African American in Milwaukee. They spoke honestly about how stressors rooted in structural racism, for many, contribute to tobacco addiction among African Americans. Some people shared that their community can be skeptical when researchers want to work with them—especially when most or all those researchers are white and they may never benefit from the research.
The CAB—some of whom smoke, used to smoke, or know people in their community who smoke—will advise the rest of the team to identify treatment strategies they think people from the Black community in Milwaukee might want to use to quit tobacco. UW-CTRI collaborators will develop an application for a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) comparative effectiveness trial to make those treatment resources available, raise awareness about the importance of quitting and the treatment options, and help folks access them.
“I believe that our kick-off meeting is an important first step in our CAB commitment to addressing tobacco cessation equity in Milwaukee County,” said Lathen. “The conversation was absolutely amazing. It was authentic, honest, and inspirational. I definitely look forward to working with each member of the group over the next ten months.”
For more on this project, click here.