ProtectNJ is a student-lead initiative to serve some of the most vulnerable populations in NJ from the effects of the COVID19 pandemic. Our mission is to provide PPE to non-profit organizations serving those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity to ensure that the most vulnerable community members can be protected, and, since many public services currently require clients to wear a mask, gain access to the services they need. Furthermore, we are also committed to educating these populations and those who serve them about scientifically –backed safety measures that reduce their chances of getting infected.
By conducting research, we aim to learn how non-profit organizations (NPOs) serving the homeless and food insecure persisted in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. We seek to understand the challenges they faced and continue to face, and how access to personal protective equipment--among other factors--played a role in helping them overcome COVID19-related operational challenges. By understanding these relationships, ProtectNJ can better tailor its work to help NPOs recover from the effects of the pandemic and help maintain low SARS-Cov-2 infection rates.
Currently, we are focused on serving non-profit organizations serving Newark residents that are homeless and/or those experiencing food insecurity. We combine service learning and research to maximize the short and long term impacts of our work with the communities we serve. The service learning component provides Non-profit Organization (NPO) employees and the populations they serve with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and educational materials that feature CDC-recommended safety measures that reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection rates. The research portion of this project inquires into NPO access to and education regarding PPE, and will strengthen understanding of the barriers faced by organizations serving essential and under-appreciated roles in our urban community.
We will collect data from our community partners (whose identities are held confidential) through a secure, online survey. Our project is currently funded by the Albert Dorman Honors College of New Jersey Institute of Technology, and all research and service-related operations, including how we train our research associates and the contents of our survey, will be approved by the NJIT Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB ensures that all of ProtectNJ's practices are ethical, and do not put our community partners at risk. You may contact the IRB with any questions at irb [at] njit [dot] edu.
ProtectNJ is committed to giving non-profit organization leaders the platform to anonymously share their organization's challenges and unique experiences as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Furthermore, any insights that ProtectNJ gathers from the cumulative survey results will be shared with our community partners so they can understand what strategies they can implement to improve their operations. Finally, these survey insights will equip ProtectNJ to better serve its community partners.
For demographic purposes, we will ask non-profit organization leaders to disclose the organization they represent. The only persons with access to this confidential information are members of the ProtectNJ research team. As required by the Institutional Review Board of New Jersey Institute of Technology, the ProtectNJ research team have completed training in the Responsible Conduct of Research and Social/Behavioral Research. We understand that your organization's identity must be held confidential, and will not disclose it in any publicly accessible or internal research reports.
Your survey responses are stored in a secure Google Forms file with access restricted only to the members of the ProtectNJ research team. Once the data collection phase is complete, your survey responses will be matched only to demographic data, which will not be made publically available. Your identity will be kept anonymous for data analysis purposes.
Members of the ProtectNJ research team will retain access to the data so long as they continue to work with ProtectNJ. However, any members that do not continue working with ProtectNJ will lose access. The NJIT faculty member overseeing the project will retain all data in a secure, password protected file for a minimum of seven years after the end of the study.