This article describes the process of using principles from community-based participatory action research to involve low-income, single, African American mothers on the south side of Chicago in genomic research, including as citizen scientists. The South Chicago Black Mothers’ Resiliency Project used a mixed methods design to investigate how the stress of living in neighborhoods with high levels of violence affects mothers’ mental and physical health. This article seeks to serve as a model for physicians and scholars interested in successfully involving low-income African American mothers in genomic research, and other health-related activities in ways that are culturally sensitive and transformative. The lives of Black mothers who struggle under interlocking systems of oppression that are often hidden from view of most Americans are at the center of this article. Therefore, we provide extensive information about the procedures used to collect the various types of data, the rationale for our procedures, the setting, the responses of mothers in our sample and methodological challenges. This study also has implications for the current COVID-19 pandemic and the need to train a corps of citizen scientists in health and wellness to avoid future extreme loss of life such as the 106,195 lives lost in the United States as of June 1, 2020.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamily Medicine and Primary Care: Open Access
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Community-based participatory action research
  • COVID-19
  • Stress
  • Sociogenomics
  • Black mothers
  • Health disparities
  • Citizen scientists


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