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Working with vulnerable populations: Examples from trials with children and families in adversity due to war and HIV/AIDS 

Working with vulnerable populations: Examples from trials with children and families in adversity due to war and HIV/AIDS
Chapter:
Working with vulnerable populations: Examples from trials with children and families in adversity due to war and HIV/AIDS
Author(s):

Theresa S. Betancourt

, William Beardslee

, Catherine Kirk

, Katrina Hann

, Moses Zombo

, Christine Mushashi

, Fredrick Kanyanganzi

, Morris Munyana

, and Justin I. Bizimana

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199680467.003.0007
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date: 25 November 2017

We discuss key issues to consider when conducting clinical trials with vulnerable children, youths, and families, with particular attention to groups affected by communal violence/war and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Across these settings, there is an overlap of several forms of adversity and vulnerability which require careful research attention. We also discuss ethical practices with vulnerable groups, including the use of qualitative methods to enhance understanding of local perspectives and language around mental health problems and resilience, planning for risk of harm referral networks, and applications of community-based participatory research (CBPR) techniques.  Such approaches can raise community awareness and increase engagement for addressing mental health in vulnerable populations while also informing and promoting practice and policy change. Drawing from examples of work in Sub-Saharan Africa and with refugees in the US, we conclude with a series of recommendations for advancing sensitive research practices with vulnerable populations.

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