AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — A new study will look at how the pandemic is affecting poor communities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

An announcement from Auburn University said the yearlong research will examine how leaders can get people in low-income, vulnerable communities to take collective action during a crisis.

The study will look at how health messages are received in such places in the three states, said research team leader Kelly Dunning.

“Specifically, we will analyze the effectiveness of science-based messages, how influential various sources of the messages were and the perceived trustworthiness of the institutions delivering COVID-19 information in low-income communities, compared to their wealthier counterparts,” she said.

The work was proposed because Black people, Native Americans and other minorities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The findings could help by showing how to encourage larger numbers of people to lessen the effects of a crisis.

The study is funded by a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

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