Diversity science researcher achieving goal of making difference in people’s lives

From the time she was a younger girl, Gladys Asiedu, Ph.D., knew she needed to assist folks. Her path to achieving that goal started in Ghana. Learn about her journey and the difference she is making as a range science researcher.

Gladys Asiedu, Ph.D., all the time knew she needed to make a difference in people’s lives. A gentle give attention to that altruistic goal would in the end lead her to Mayo Clinic.

As a baby in Ghana in West Africa, she did not know what that might imply, or how she would get there.

She acquired her undergraduate diploma in English and spiritual research from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. In 2004, she and her household landed in Manhattan, Kansas, the place she pursued graduate training at Kansas State University, receiving a grasp’s in household research and human providers, a Ph.D. in household research, and a graduate certificates in women’s research.

Her analysis profession in Kansas started with a query: What occurs if you or somebody you like is identified with HIV or AIDS? What are the psychological and social impacts on sufferers and their households? And how do these impacts have an effect on remedy?

A ardour for fairness in the pursuit of health and wellness

Dr. Asiedu’s expertise in worldwide and group health packages earlier than coming to the U.S. gave her firsthand information of the devastating results of such a analysis on underprivileged and underserved populations.

Gladys Asiedu sitting in her workplace in 2002, throughout which the time she was working with the Regional AIDS challenge and the Ghana Tourism Authority.

In each her master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation, Dr. Asiedu argued that HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination isn’t one thing that impacts only one person or one household. It is a systemic subject that impacts the health and well-being of an entire group, in addition to healthcare suppliers and care techniques.

Dr. Asiedu noticed that this stigma was fueled by misinformation and restricted understanding of science, and she or he proposed that training was step one to averting fears associated to the illness.

“An aspect of our human survival mechanism is to fear the unknown and to stigmatize it,” says Dr. Asiedu. “Some of the findings of the research illuminate the misconceptions, misinformation and limited knowledge of HIV that fueled the stigmatization of those diagnosed with the disease.”  

Her dissertation expanded on this discovering and illustrated that community-based, participatory analysis — a newly emerging concept at the time — was an efficient technique to determine potential interventions.

A unbroken give attention to group

In 2010, Dr. Asiedu moved to Rochester, the place she hoped to assist construct a world the place folks would have equitable experiences and alternatives to reside their healthiest and happiest lives.

Mayo did not initially seem to be a promising place to pursue her ardour, with sparse ongoing social science analysis on the time.

“But there’s all the time a primary time, and in the primary 12 months, I labored with Dr. Sandhya Pruthi in Women’s Health, who was crafting most cancers screening interventions tailor-made to the tradition and beliefs of low-income women in the Southeastern communities to extend charges of breast most cancers screening,” Dr. Asiedu says.

“Then I did a postdoc in health services research with Dr. Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, looking at disparities in common cancer screenings, preventive and therapeutic care,” she says.

That’s when she started to assume Mayo may maintain alternatives for the sort of work she needed to pursue.

Diversity science

Today, Dr. Asiedu is a number one researcher in the brand new Diversity Science Program of the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

Program Director Renaldo Blocker, Ph.D., Dr. Asiedu and different colleagues outlined range science at Mayo. They started by fascinated with the biases and inequities in the U.S.

“We were initially moved by our own experiences and the experiences of our colleagues, and were passionate about effecting change in our workplace and community,” says Dr. Asiedu. “We became passionate about addressing this for our own institution and wanted to do good in the workforce space.  But after the murder of George Floyd, it grew beyond the initial vision.”

Mayo Clinic pledged $100 million to eradicate racism, advance fairness and inclusion inside Mayo Clinic, and enhance health fairness for folks in all places.

“This pledge from Mayo signifies the investment that the organization has in advancing equity, and that meant so much for what we wanted to do,” says Dr. Asiedu. “So it was incumbent on us to define our tasks within the commitment that Mayo made and to reimagine how we approach diversity at Mayo.”

That meant revisiting easy methods to design range, fairness and inclusion efforts, and health fairness research in a extra scientific and rigorous method, and making certain that range, fairness and inclusion analysis and discoveries by Mayo occur in a scientific, scientifically sound method.

“We created the Diversity Science Program to be a hub for scientists and practitioners who wanted to work in this space but needed the guidance, consults and strategies that could potentially accelerate progress toward inclusivity through research,” Dr. Asiedu says.

The group knew their work needed to be extra than simply inner to Mayo. They wanted to handle the wants of the workforce, sufferers and group. They needed to examine and construct interventions for sustainable transformation inside Mayo and throughout the worldwide group.

“The fact that this program came into existence signifies our recognition of inequities and inequalities in our world, oppressions and disparities that come from systems of power,” Dr. Asiedu says. “Systemic constructions and cultural norms which have allowed dominant teams to undermine the worth and dignity of members of minority teams.

“Launching the Diversity Science Program showed a renewed commitment by Mayo to conduct the rigorous research that underlies transformation and to share the knowledge gained through investigation and implementation of interventions,” says Dr. Asiedu. “It’s about time we change the science of characterizing inequities and disparities and move toward impactful science that implements interventions and programs resulting in equity and meaningful outcomes for all groups of people.”

For Dr. Asiedu, the delivery of the Diversity Science Program additionally expanded her capability to pursue health fairness from myriad views.

Dr. Asiedu invests her analysis experience in investigations throughout all this system focus areas as a result of she feels strongly about holistically analyzing health and healthcare supply inside bigger contexts and figuring out methods to enhance outcomes and satisfaction amongst those that expertise probably the most vital disparities.

She derives a lot satisfaction from her work, which feeds her ardour. Her private life supplies extra proof of her dedication to enhancing the lives of others.

Between the calls for of being an “Uber driver” for her school-aged children, she volunteers for community-building actions in her church. Dr. Asiedu is surrounded by her group of family and friends who encourage and broaden on her concepts to make a difference for folks in the U.S., her residence nation, and maybe the world.

Seeking a brand new perspective on scientific trial participation amongst underrepresented minority sufferers

Together with Katharine Price, M.D., Rahma Warsame, M.D., and others, Dr. Asiedu explored the experiences, motivations, and decision-making of underrepresented minority sufferers efficiently handled in a most cancers scientific trial. After reviewing current literature, they intentionally selected a mixed-methods method, contemplating the query from a wholly unique approach.

This constructive method acknowledges the present strengths and on a regular basis experiences of these sufferers.

“We wanted to gain some idea of barriers and facilitators to clinical trial enrollment through an appreciative inquiry,” Dr. Asiedu says.

That meant approaching sufferers already in a scientific trial and asking, “What are your motivations for participating in this clinical trial?”

The group used surveys and the photo-elicitation interview method — a visible analysis methodology — to discover and perceive the motivations and facilitators of trial participation.

“PEI (photo-elicitation interview) is a powerful method for illuminating human experience and surfacing information, which may otherwise remain invisible using conventional approaches,” says Dr. Asiedu. “This approach has the potential to alter clinical trial recruitment efforts that include patient-generated visuals of clinical trial experiences that could enhance culturally tailored educational programming.”

The authors discovered that altruism seems to be a major motivator to enroll in a most cancers scientific trial. This message might be integrated into recruitment methods to enhance the recruitment of numerous sufferers.

To achieve a extra complete image, the examine included views from physicians, examine coordinators, scientific trial investigators, recruitment personnel and different workers concerned in scientific trials to offer vital perception into the advanced subject of inclusive accrual.

Ultimately, Dr. Asiedu and the group’s most crucial statement was that scientific trial participation requires a relational method. It is greater than a easy two-party contractual settlement.

“It’s not just you, the patient, making the decision. It is a decision for you and your family and friends and together with doctors,” she says.

The group expects their examine outcomes to be printed quickly.

Effectively partaking the group to achieve weak populations throughout a public health disaster

Early in the COVID pandemic, Dr. Asiedu labored with two analysis groups to develop and consider a community-engaged bidirectional disaster and emergency-risk communications framework to help in reaching immigrant communities in addition to African Americans in Southeast Minnesota. The researchers knew they wanted to work with the communities to determine the paths more likely to result in receptiveness. They wanted to refine the messaging in ways in which have been each palatable and inspired motion whereas decreasing concern and uncertainty.

The two analysis groups, Rochester Healthy Community Partnership led by Irene Sia, M.D., and Mark Wieland, M.D., and FAITH! led by LaPrincess Brewer, M.D., developed a bidirectional communication method utilizing the Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication mannequin from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to handle COVID-19 prevention, testing, and socioeconomic impacts with immigrant, refugee and African American teams in Southeast Minnesota. This communication framework was culturally tailor-made and tailored to the wants of the immigrant and African American inhabitants in Southeast Minnesota.

This communication intervention reached over 40,000 group members in seven completely different language teams throughout Olmsted County. Framework implementation additionally led to techniques and coverage adjustments to satisfy the wants of immigrant, refugee and African American populations.

“The project helped reduce COVID-19 disparities through shared creation and dissemination of public health messages, enhanced connection to existing resources, and incorporation of community perspectives in regional pandemic mitigation policies,” says Dr. Asiedu. “The framework has been adapted for use in other communities to encourage participation in healthful health communication to diverse populations.”

Read extra in regards to the framework:

Getting big-city care to the bedsides of the tiniest rural sufferers

Dr. Asiedu labored with Jennifer Fang, M.D., and her group to find out the easiest way to include distant neonatology consultative assist in hospitals with out native entry to this specialty.

It appeared easy: Add video telemedicine for new child resuscitation care, thereby lessening rural health disparities and enhancing the chances of safer deliveries and more healthy infants.

The group shortly realized this, too, was about relationships. Local docs wanted to be introduced into conversations the place they’d study the worth of expertise in serving to them present the very best care for his or her sufferers. They wanted to grasp how the method would work, how the neonatologist would combine with their native group, and the way this intervention would enhance outcomes. The analysis turned towards creating an efficient outreach and training program that felt empowering for the agricultural care suppliers.

Today, Mayo’s Teleneonatology Program is obtainable throughout Mayo Clinic Health System and likewise helps non-Mayo medical services.

Read extra about this system:

Improving care for males with prostate most cancers who’re additionally immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

Most just lately, Dr. Asiedu has been working with colleagues at Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center to customise one other framework — one for understanding the social determinants of migrant health. They hope their work results in improved care and survivorship experiences for Black males with prostate most cancers.

The present investigation is a pilot study among sub-Saharan African immigrants, figuring out components contributing to health-seeking habits. Their findings advance information in the iCCaRE Consortium, a shortened identify for the Inclusive Cancer Care Research Equity for Black Men Consortium.

The group expects to broaden the pilot to section 2 in early 2024, involving different African and Caribbean immigrant communities and increasing collaborations to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Read more about this collaboration in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.


The Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery collaborates with scientific areas throughout Mayo to create and consider data-driven options to rework the expertise of health and healthcare for sufferers, workers, and communities. It drives steady enchancment of Mayo Clinic as a studying health system, enabling all the time secure, evidence-based, high-quality care.

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