No one left behind: Conducting meaningful focus groups in safe and productive environments for hard-to-reach populations

Session Number: 2439
Track: Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations
Session Type: Expert Lecture
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Rebecca L Garrow [Program Manager - Public Health Institute]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Kyli Gallington [Research Scientist - Public Health Institute]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra [Senior Research Scientist - Public Health Institute]
Time: Nov 14, 2019 (05:00 PM - 05:45 PM)
Room: Hilton Marquette VI

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Focus groups are an effective method for gathering feedback on public health services and outreach campaigns. Persons who are over the age of 65, experiencing homelessness, have substance abuse or mental health challenges, are immigrants, or for whom English is not a primary language, are important yet underrepresented stakeholders in public health programs. Meaningful data and feedback can be collected from the groups through surveys or in focus group settings; however, using these methods with these populations requires special considerations and skills sets for data collectors and focus group moderators.

Lessons learned and recommendations for conducting focus groups and surveys while fostering safe, productive environments will be shared. Specifically, the use of effective probing techniques, handling distractions and nonsensical contributions during focus group discussions, and making meaning of qualitative data in multiple languages will be reviewed. Subsidence, communication, and neutral attitudes towards drug use and citizenship status will be outlined.