On February 19, 2020, the Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) hosted a screening of the ethnodrama, “A Touch of Sugga,” at St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church. This screening was designed to stimulate discussions and raise awareness of diabetes self-management.
An ethnodrama is a written transformation and adaptation of ethnographic research data into a dramatic play script and staged as a live, public, theatrical performance. The screening was also part of CERI’s AME Zion Health Equity Advocates & Liaisons (HEAL) partnership, which works with AME Zion clergymen to increase and diversify clinical trials recruitment efforts.
“A Touch of Sugga” focuses on an African-American family and their struggle to support the patriarch of the family. The patriarch is a man living with diabetes who is unwilling to come to grips with the seriousness of his chronic illness. Thus, he is resistant to making the lifestyle modifications necessary to manage his diabetes as he feels is “just a touch of sugga.”
Following the screening of the ethnodrama, Drs. Bryan Batch and Iris Padilla moderated a Q&A session with attendees. The clinicians answered audience questions about state-of-the-science diabetes prevention, and diabetes self-management behaviors, symptoms, and treatments.
NCCU and the Duke CTSI formed a partnership in 2017 to implement programs, including ethnodramas, related to workforce development, pilot projects, and community engagement. In 2019, the partnership hosted the ethnodrama, “Write Now, We Will Heal,” about cervical cancer prevention and treatment.
“It was truly an honor to join community members from Durham and surrounding counties,” said Kenisha Bethea, MPH, research program leader for CERI. “This collaboration between academic institutions and community leaders is a wonderful example of how to creatively convey the importance of including and engaging communities, particularly African Americans, in research to improve health outcomes.”
The next ethnodrama in the series will focus on opioid addiction and is slated to be performed June 2020 in Durham. To learn more about community-engaged research or how to incorporate community stakeholders into a health outcomes project, visit the CTSI website.