Our Partners in the News: From Boosting Vaccination Rates to Supporting Community Organizations   

Spotlight on Newark, Chicago, Immokalee, Montgomery

Posted on Oct 1, 2021

PIH In The News

NJ Spotlight News: Newark nearly doubled its youth vaccination rate in two months. Here’s how. 

While much of the nation is struggling to increase vaccination rates, Newark, NJ scored a big win recently, nearly doubling its youth vaccination rate in two months, according to an article in NJspotlight.com.   

How did the city drive its share of vaccinated young people from 30% in July up to 55% in September? Here's how, according to Dr. Mark Wade, director of the city’s health department, and a PIH-US partner: 

The key, said Wade, has been meeting residents where they are. That has meant not only setting up vaccination clinics in schools and neighborhoods across the city, but also patiently listening and responding to residents’ concerns. “The availability of vaccines was not an issue,” he said. “It was literally convincing and assuring community residents that it’s safe, it’s effective, and worth doing — not only for one’s individual health, but to protect the community as a whole.” 

Read the full story here

Care Resource Coordinators outside a Newark, NJ vaccination clinic
Care resource coordination team at a vaccination event in Newark, NJ. Photo: Courtesy of Community FoodBank of New Jersey


Inside Philanthropy: With All Eyes on COVID Vaccination Rates, Funders Nationwide Battle Hesitancy and Inequity 

The Chicagoland Vaccine Partnership, a coalition of representatives from health care, government, academia, philanthropies and community and faith-based organizations addressing inequities in the region’s COVID-19 response, was featured in the recent issue of Inside Philanthropy. 

Max Clermont, the Senior Project Lead in Chicago for PIH-US, talked about the importance of the CVP’s new “rapid-response” grants that have allowed smaller, neighborhood-focused community organizations to pivot to equitable vaccine outreach. For example, Clermont describes a Chicago grantee that runs a food pantry and youth boxing program. The organization is now using its deep knowledge of and presence in the community to help get people vaccinated and provide accessible information on the virus.  

“This model can be expanded beyond COVID-19 to connect people with a wider set of public health resources,” Clermont said. 

Read the full article here

Naples News: ‘Who Is Going to Help Me?’ How a Florida Team Brings Healthcare to this Community 

If you want to learn more about community health workers, and the critical role they play in communities, check out this piece in the Naples News. The story follows an Immokalee, Florida, health worker (also called a health promotor) employed by a PIH-US partner in the region, through a typical day: 

Delivering food is one way health workers connect with sick residents in the immigrant-rich agricultural community of Immokalee, Florida, which was ravaged by COVID-19 last year. It creates an opening to see them in-person. Lopez Hernandez has found residents will say they’re OK even if they’re not. Another route to building trust is by guiding residents through systems they may be wary of to get the support they need. Lopez Hernandez dialed the Healthcare Network — the federally qualified health center that employs him and the rest of the COVID-19 response team — on speaker. A nurse consulted a doctor, who advised [patient] Gaspar go immediately to the hospital, a 30-minute drive away. "Do you have someone who can take you?" Lopez Hernandez asked. Yes, she said, her son. The woman blinked away tears. “Thank you so much for coming to see me, because I’ve been feeling like, who is going to help me?" 

Read the full story here. 

Montgomery: An Intentional Approach to Vaccination 

In a powerful op-ed co-written by Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed, and Cicily Gray and Grace Lesser of PIH-US, the authors discuss the nuances of meaningful engagement with community members when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. They write: 

We’re making progress because we recognize that in large part, the vaccination challenge is not a one-size-fits-all approach: we have identified the different barriers to access and reasons why people have not gotten vaccinated. Improving vaccine access and equity means meeting people where they are. It means working with churches and community-based organizations to stand up vaccine clinics, integrating food distribution by trusted providers, offering gift cards on site, and responding to the plethora of economic and social needs through Patient Navigators and Community Health Workers. It means digging deep into the community.

Read the full piece in AL.com here




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