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Participants needed for COVID-19 impact study by USM, Tougaloo Researchers

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The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and Tougaloo College have partnered to research and better understand the challenges faced by young adults in Mississippi throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the group is seeking 18 to 29-year-old individuals across the state to participate in the study.

The research study, Young Adults Against COVID-19 (YAACOV), will ask participants to complete a brief online survey and participate in one virtual focus group to share what they know about the virus. The discussion will include how they coped with the stressors and challenges brought on by the pandemic, as well as the sources of information sought to obtain information on vaccination and other prevention strategies.

“The Young Adults Against COVID-19 study is an opportunity for our young people to contribute to our understanding of how the virus has impacted their lives,” said Dr. Traci Hayes, Project Site Lead, and assistant professor at USM. “We are encouraging young people, those from underserved groups, rural areas, from across the state to participate.”

The YAACOV study is one of five projects supported by the Mississippi Collaborative Engagement Alliance (MS CEAL), which was awarded to the University of Mississippi Medical Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health. Data published by the Mississippi State Department of Health shows that approximately 36 percent of the COVID-19 cases were among young adults from ages 18-39. Among this group, African American young adults are at greater risk of contracting and suffering from the virus.

“The data provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health identifies young adults as continuing to be a population of high risks for carrying and transmitting the coronavirus, and that is a major reason why this study is specifically designed to identify the concerns, challenges, and information needs of that population,” said Dr. Wendy White, YAACOV Principal Investigator and Principal Investigator of the Jackson Heart Study Undergraduate Program at Tougaloo College.

For more information, please contact Dr. Hayes at 601-266-5434 or visit

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