It is essential to draw on community strengths and trusted community networks to respond effectively to COVID-19 and to longstanding health inequities made worse by the pandemic. The availability of accurate COVID-19 information, support, and resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate and specific to RIM communities is essential to keeping communities safe.
COVID-19 Communities Coordinator Role
COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs) are community-based organizations that connect diverse communities to COVID-19 testing and resources. CCCs contract with state governments to serve communities hit hardest by COVID-19, including communities of color, American Indian communities, LGBTQ communities, and those with disabilities. CCCs support all who need COVID-19 information specific to their communities, including in their languages. One of the main ways that CCCs help community members find and get critical resources to deal with health concerns, as well as employment, food access, housing, childcare, and legal rights, is through a hotline that they manage.
COVID-19 Community Coordinators can answer questions about:
- Where to get tested for COVID-19
- Food support
- Health care and mental health resources
- Housing and rental assistance
- COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing
- Employment resources
CCCs include the following organizations:
- The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to contract with disabilities-centered community based organizations
- The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Network to contract with refugee service agencies across the state
- Nineteen culturally-specific organizations that serve African American, African immigrant, American Indian, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latino, and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota
Supporting the Community in Minnesota
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) hired eight lead coordinators and a team supervisor representing the state's diverse communities to provide professional support to this initiative through community engagement and contract management.
These positions are responsible for partnering with and assisting COVID-19 departments in engaging the RIM communities. This includes organizing requests and needs from the population to the health department's appropriate areas, other state agencies, or local public health partners. The lead coordinators participate in community conversations and health education presentations, and help plan COVID-19 testing events. They provide technical assistance to community partners and assist in developing strategies as well as two-way, meaningful relationships using a health equity lens.