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Ethics of research at the intersection of COVID-19 and black lives matter: a call to action
  1. Natasha Crooks1,
  2. Geri Donenberg2,
  3. Alicia Matthews3
  1. 1Department of Human Development Nursing Science, College of Nursing, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  3. 3Department of Population Health Nursing Science, College of Nursing, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Natasha Crooks, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA; ncrooks{at}


This paper describes how to ethically conduct research with Black populations at the intersection of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. We highlight the issues of historical mistrust in the USA and how this may impact Black populations’ participation in COVID-19 vaccination trials. We provide recommendations for researchers to ethically engage Black populations in research considering the current context. Our recommendations include understanding the impact of ongoing trauma, acknowledging historical context, ensuring diverse research teams and engaging in open and honest conversations with Black populations to better address their needs. The core of our recommendation is recognising the impact of trauma in our research and health care practices.

  • behavioural research
  • COVID-19
  • health care for specific diseases/groups
  • history of health ethics/bioethics
  • minorities

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conception, writing and editing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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