Richmond Health and Wellness Program works to address secondary impacts of pandemic on health outcomes

Social isolation can be dangerous. And this year, it has been the shared experience of people across the country as states issued stay-at-home orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here in Richmond, a group of researchers has been partnering with low-income older adults with the goal of understanding how to build a better healthcare delivery model to meet their needs where they live. The spread of COVID-19 only underscored the value and importance of the Richmond Health and Wellness Program (RHWP), led by Pam Parsons, Ph.D., GNP-BC, FNAP FAAN, associate dean of practice and community engagement and associate professor at the VCU School of Nursing.

Research on loneliness and social isolation’s effects on health outcomes became a national conversation as lockdowns went into effect and researchers saw a sudden uptick in preventable deaths due to disruptions in access to routine and preventive care. While not researching the virus directly, the program’s efforts to address the secondary impacts of the pandemic on health outcomes received support from the VCU Health COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. RHWP is a community-based learning lab for exploring both health disparities in older adults living in low-income housing and reimagining how care is provided. Read more.

group photo of a woman, man and woman
Left to right : Dr. Jodi Winship of the College of Health Professions, Dr. Elvin Price of the School of Pharmacy and Dr. Pam Parsons of the School of Nursing.