Development of a culturally and linguistically sensitive virtual reality educational platform to improve vaccine acceptance within a refugee population: The SHIFA community engagement-public health innovation programme

Samantha Streuli, Najla Ibrahim, Alia Mohamed, Manupriya Sharma, Markie Esmailian, Ibrahim Sezan, Carrie Farrell, Mark Sawyer, Dan Meyer, Khaled El-Maleh, Ritu Thamman, Alex Marchetti, Alan Lincoln, Eric Courchesne, Ahmed Sahid, Sanjeev P. Bhavnani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives To combat misinformation, engender trust and increase health literacy, we developed a culturally and linguistically appropriate virtual reality (VR) vaccination education platform using community-engaged approaches within a Somali refugee community. Design Community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods including focus group discussions, interviews, and surveys were conducted with Somali community members and expert advisors to design the educational content. Co-design approaches with community input were employed in a phased approach to develop the VR storyline. Participants 60 adult Somali refugees and seven expert advisors who specialise in healthcare, autism research, technology development and community engagement. Setting Somali refugees participated at the offices of a community-based organisation, Somali Family Service, in San Diego, California and online. Expert advisors responded to surveys virtually. Results We find that a CBPR approach can be effectively used for the co-design of a VR educational programme. Additionally, cultural and linguistic sensitivities can be incorporated within a VR educational programme and are essential factors for effective community engagement. Finally, effective VR utilisation requires flexibility so that it can be used among community members with varying levels of health and technology literacy. Conclusion We describe using community co-design to create a culturally and linguistically sensitive VR experience promoting vaccination within a refugee community. Our approach to VR development incorporated community members at each step of the process. Our methodology is potentially applicable to other populations where cultural sensitivities and language are common health education barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere051184
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 14 2021

Keywords

  • community child health
  • paediatric infectious disease & immunisation
  • qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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