Project Trinity Aims to Better Understand Mental and Physical Health of African Americans Amid Pandemic and Social Unrest

Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest in the United States threaten to disrupt the economic stability and daily routines of African Americans in Oklahoma and across the nation. In February, researchers at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center will launch a statewide cohort study called Project Trinity, to investigate how these socioeconomic factors affect the physical and mental health of African Americans.

Researchers fear that these disruptions not only cause a decline in mental and physical health, but may lead to detrimental health choices such as greater tobacco and alcohol use, sedentary behavior, and poor dietary choices. Adam Alexander, Ph.D., ea health disparities researcher with a specialty in tobacco research at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center, leads the program.

Alexander explained that Project Trinity aims to provide data and insights that can be used by policymakers, public health professionals, and researchers in Oklahoma. This information can be used to inform public policy and research to promote health equity and to restore trust between African Americans, law enforcement and other public institutions. More broadly, the study will support grant applications that focus on reducing tobacco use, increasing physical activity, and addressing other modifiable health risk behaviors among African Americans.

Alexander believes that this study will "document and illustrate the harmful health and economic effects of the pandemic and unprecedented social unrest on the lives of African Americans in Oklahoma. Each African American adult who participates in this cohort study will contribute to the broader discussion about identifying policies and interventions that are needed to mitigate the secondary health and economic consequences of these traumatic events."

African Americans throughout Oklahoma who volunteer for this study will be compensated to complete online survey assessments for two years (baseline, three-month, six-month, 1-year, and 2-year assessments) and be will be asked to provide information regarding the extent to which COVID-19 and social unrest have impacted their health and health-related behaviors. For more information, email

Researchers at the TSET Health Promotion Research Center are committed to being at the forefront of addressing the numerous health and social consequences of the pandemic and social unrest in the great state of Oklahoma to ensure that all residents may achieve positive health and social outcomes.

The HPRC receives funding from OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center via an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA225520) and the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust grant R21-02.