Community Engagement

Using Facebook Groups to Navigate the COVID-19 Vaccine Sign-Up Process

COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available in the United States. As vaccine allocation includes a larger proportion of the population, understanding and overcoming challenges to vaccination experienced by different communities is essential to ensuring equitable vaccine implementation.

The Benefits of Community Advisory Boards

COVID-19 continues to have a disproportionate impact of refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. While health providers may be keen to develop initiatives to reach these communities, doing so without engagement of the communities may result in efforts that are ineffective or even harmful. One-off attempts at community engagement (e.g.

Health Equity Zones

Effective COVID-19 response among refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) populations requires relationships with communities. Each community’s success in achieving measurable and timely health outcomes is oftentimes based on the social determinants of health of the particular community. Ensuring health equity within RIM communities builds healthier and more resilient communities; this can be a challenge, particularly for certain communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

Vaccine Ambassadors Program

Many community members have questions regarding COVID-19 vaccines. In particular, organizations that work in the community and often serve as information hubs have a specific need to ensure that their staff have up-to-date information about COVID-19 vaccines that they feel comfortable sharing.

Community Mapping

In the COVID-19 response, health departments across the country are challenged with knowing how to reach refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities and assess their specific needs. There may be difficulty in beginning to build relationships with a community. Health departments must build trust with RIM communities to ensure useful work can be accomplished. Identifying community partners is the first step to establish connections and create rapport within the RIM community.

Embedding Equity throughout the COVID-19 Response Organizational Structure

To reach communities that are most impacted by inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to integrate considerations for these communities of focus into all aspects of the response efforts. When equity work is sequestered to one area of the response, there are often siloes in the work and equity considerations can become reactive instead of proactive.

Supporting Mental Health in RIM Communities During COVID-19 and Beyond

In the COVID-19 pandemic, additional mental wellness challenges are being placed on refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) community members due to increased stigma, isolation, financial stressors, and existing traumas from resettlement. Ensuring equitable barrier-free access to mental health support and resources is especially critical for RIM communities to mitigate the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on this population and prevent further trauma.

Partnerships with Consulates

Effective COVID-19 response among refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) populations requires relationships with communities. There may be some challenges in figuring out where to start when building or enhancing relationships with communities. One consideration for health departments includes engaging with the consulates or population-specific business organizations of RIM communities in your area.

Partnerships with Youth Groups

In coordinating an effective COVID-19 response, partnerships with existing community groups are essential for reaching underserved communities and improving the delivery of services, resources, and information. Youth groups can be especially effective outreach partners, helping to provide door-to-door information, distributing resources and empowering the youth in the community to be active participants in emergency health response.

Culturally-Specific Vaccine Information Broadcasts

As public interest and questions about COVID-19 vaccines continue to grow, community members are looking to their trusted sources to get accurate and reliable information about the vaccines. Especially for refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities, well-established, linguistically relevant media outlets are critical sources to access the most up-to-date guidance.

Engaging Community Leaders with Public Health Authorities

Effective COVID-19 response among refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities requires relationships with communities. Lack of information in the community can foster distrust with the health department, lead to hesitancy to cooperate with case investigators and contact tracers, and potentially worsen health outcomes. There may be some difficulty in knowing where to start when building or strengthening relationships with a community.

COVID Champions: Trusted Faith Leaders

The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally- and linguistically-appropriate is essential to keeping communities safe. Likewise, it is also important to provide information via channels that community members actively use and trust.  

Community Health Workers

In the COVID-19 response, partnerships are essential to reach underserved communities, maximize resources, reduce duplication of efforts, and improve the delivery of culturally- and linguistically-appropriate services and resources. Community Health Workers (CHWs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and local health departments (LHDs) share goals to improve community health, particularly among disproportionately impacted populations.

COVID-19 Community-Led Hotlines

The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally and linguistically appropriate is essential to keeping communities safe. However, there are currently many communication challenges for refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. Language barriers, time restraints, and having patients isolated from their families has resulted in a communication gap between patients, families, and health providers.

Partnerships with Federally-Qualified Health Centers Serving RIM Communities

In the COVID-19 response, partnerships are essential to reach underserved communities, maximize resources, reduce duplicating efforts, and improve the delivery of services and resources. Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and local health departments (LHDs) share goals to improve community health, particularly among disproportionately impacted populations. Collaboration allows limited federal, state, and local resources to be targeted and allocated to areas that need the resources most.

Cultural Navigators to Liaise Between Communities and Public Health

In the COVID-19 public health response, some sites report low attempts to follow-up and low response rates within refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. This leads to inaccurate data for case investigators and contact tracers. Likewise, it is also essential to provide information and services via channels that community members actively use and trust.

Vaccine Campaign Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations

CUHCC Promotional Event

Immunization rates are lower among refugee, immigrant and migrant (RIM) communities due to factors which include cultural and linguistic diversity, knowledge and beliefs about a disease and vaccine, and challenges accessing healthcare (related to cost, transportation, medical system complexity/unfamiliarity, lack of welcoming environment, etc.). This challenge is expected to persist as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes increasingly available.

Partnerships with State Refugee Health Coordinators

State and local health departments (SLHD) may work with community-based organizations (CBOs), resettlement agencies, and faith-based organizations to reach refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. However, in order to more effectively address the health needs of incoming refugee arrivals, SLHD should partner with State Refugee Health Coordinators to better assess refugee health needs as part of a comprehensive and effective COVID-19 public health response. 

Community Testimonials for Health Messaging

The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally- and linguistically-relevant is essential to keeping communities safe. Messages change rapidly and some health departments may face challenges with developing health messaging that reaches all communities, particularly refugees, immigrants, and migrants (RIM). 

COVID-19 Community Coordinators 

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. 

Vulnerable Populations Task Force

COVID-19 has impacted and further disenfranchised many communities, including immigrants, migrants, the elderly, and others. The needs of these communities are complex and solutions require many stakeholders and partners. 

Community Liaisons to Connect Health Departments with Communities

Reaching populations that are most impacted by COVID-19 with resources and education is a critical goal, particularly for refugees, immigrants, and migrant (RIM), communities of color, American Indian communities, and LGBTQ communities. Trusted messengers and tailored outreach are especially essential to a successful partnership with these communities due to distrust of government, historical trauma, and linguistic needs.

Vaccine Listening Sessions with Communities

Health departments are working quickly to implement plans for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. As news and messaging around COVID-19 vaccines unfolds rapidly, some communities may have questions and concerns about what to expect. 

Community Contractors for Health Messaging

The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally- and linguistically-relevant is essential to keeping communities safe. Messages change rapidly, and some health departments may face challenges with developing health messaging that reaches all communities, particularly refugees, immigrants, and migrants. 

Facebook Videos to Engage Communities

The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally- and linguistically-appropriate is essential to keeping communities safe. Likewise, it is also important to provide information via channels that community members actively use and trust.  

Community Movie Night + Information Exchange

In the COVID-19 response, some sites are reporting challenges in reaching large numbers of refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) community members to disseminate consistent health messaging and awareness of existing services.