State and local health departments are leading COVID-19 response in our communities. The public health workforce within these departments face difficult and demanding responsibilities.
The purpose of the NRC-RIM is to support public health departments and their workforce, particularly in efforts to reach disproportionately affected refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities (RIM). The COVID-19 outbreak has introduced or worsened existing health disparities within many of these communities. We have defined guiding principles that reflect our unique approach. We believe these principles - when put into action - will enhance the success of COVID-19 prevention and mitigation and strengthen collaboration with RIM communities. We encourage health departments to put the following principles into action; NRC-RIM in collaboration with our partners will develop practical resources to support health departments implement these principles.
- Actively work to understand the unique circumstances of your local RIM communities
- Acknowledge and address structural racism and acknowledge both conscious and unconscious bias among health providers and public health professionals
- Build and foster community trust through partnerships with community-based organizations, grassroots organizations and other community groups
- Create informal and formal partnerships between health departments and communities such as fostering communities of practice, working with community liaisons and/or forming community advisory boards
- Engage communities as you set priorities, make decisions, and facilitate activities
- Leverage community strengths such as social cohesion, a sense of collectivism and community, and respect and concern for the elderly
- Acknowledge that some community strengths may also put community members at higher risk of COVID-19 infection and disease
- Acknowledge and, when possible, address political, social, and physical determinants of health
- Develop communications in the preferred language of the community, using simple and low-literacy terms; pair print materials with video and audio messages
- Acknowledge, observe, and honor cultural norms and perspectives in health education and health communications materials