Methodologies and Inequities Participatory and Narrative Approaches to Research with Marginalized Communities

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McKinley Green
Val Crutcher
Océane Lune
Munira Mutmainna
Raquelle Lenoir
Andrew Schuster
Gage Urvina
Calla Brown


In this commentary, we reflect on a study investigating how young people living with HIV navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and offer concrete methodological approaches to studying health inequity. We describe how participatory and narrative-based methods helped us develop five specific study protocols that reflected our commitments to equity in research: revising questions to account for local conditions of risk; intervening in histories of extractive research practices leveraged against communities at the margins; phrasing demographic questions to account for the complexity of identity; incorporating consent iteratively across the study; and offering incentives that were consistent with participants’ expertise of their own lived experiences. We use these reflections to further ongoing conversations about integrating equity into rhetorically inflected health research. 


Article Details

Author Biographies

McKinley Green, George Mason University

McKinley Green is an Assistant Professor of English at George Mason University, where he researches technical and professional communication, queer theory, and rhetorics of health and medicine.

Val Crutcher, Youth and AIDS Projects

Val Crutcher is the Executive Director of the Youth and AIDS Projects. Val graduated from Concordia University with a B.A. in Political Science, and she began her youth-work career in 1989 and has worked with
various shelters and youth service in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. She has been with YAP since 1998.

Océane Lune, Youth and AIDS Projects

Océane Lune, YAP’s Community Engagement Coordinator, is a Black, Queer, Non-Binary, HIV+, Louisiana native. They were diagnosed with HIV in 2005 as a homeless youth and sex worker. Since then, Océane has
been a fierce, unapologetic advocate for those impacted by HIV, especially young people, Trans*/Non-Binary folks, and Black communities.

Munira Mutmainna, George Mason University

Munira Mutmainna is a Doctoral candidate in Writing and Rhetoric and George Mason University. Her current research focuses on immigrant health rhetoric and communication in the U.S. settings.

Raquelle Lenoir, Youth and AIDS Projects

Racquelle Lenoir, the Lead Case Manager at YAP, has been working in public health for 5 years. However, most of her reward for public health is with her work in HIV. Raquelle has been a part of many different forums as well as being an educator on other health disparities.

Andrew Schuster, Youth and AIDS Projects

Andrew Schuster is the Director of Operations at YAP. With a B.A. in Communications/ Journalism and Justice/Peace Studies from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN), has gained experience in HIV advocacy, project management, community organizing, and he strives to eliminate stereotypes, stigma, and barriers to care.

Gage Urvina, Youth and AIDS Projects

Gage Urvina is the client services coordinator at YAP. Gage has worked in the field of HIV for seven years, where he strives to meet clients where they are and to help folks to establish and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Calla Brown, University of Minnesota, Department of Pediatrics and Youth and AIDS Projects

Calla Brown is an internist and pediatrician and practices primary care at a community health center in Minneapolis. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and joined YAP in 2020. Calla is passionate about community health, human rights, and health justice.



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