Community Engagement Toolkit

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Involve the people you serve

Refugees, immigrants and migrants have made important contributions to communities across the United States, and they have shown remarkable strength and resilience. Involving the communities you serve in your planning and decision-making practices will only enhance the services you offer. Members of any community know best how to communicate with their peers, which is why we advocate for community involvement as a central element to any COVID-19 response. 

Promising Practices are strategies, approaches, or programs that have anecdotally shown to have a positive impact in some local settings, however, there is not yet enough research-based evidence to certify as a best practice.

 Submit your own Promising Practice

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Community Movie Night + Information Exchange

Health departments are partnering with community-based organizations (CBO) to host outdoor movie nights in apartment complexes where members of refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities live. During intermissions or after the movie, PSAs developed by the CBO or health department are shared. 

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Facebook Videos to Engage Communities

The use of Facebook to share informational videos about COVID-19 among RIM communities and/or to deliver live content through the Facebook Live feature are promising practices for reaching RIM communities. 

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Community Contractors for Health Messaging

Community-based organizations (CBOs) and diverse media vendors provide culturally and linguistically appropriate guidance using a community contractor model of partnership. Select this promising practice to learn more about creating trusted, timely and, and culturally-relevant health information.

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Vaccine Listening Sessions with Communities

A listening session is a facilitated discussion with a group of individuals aimed at collecting information about a specific topic. Listening sessions are an effective way to hear directly from communities about COVID-19-related topics, including vaccines. Select this promising practice to learn more about vaccine listening sessions. 

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Community Liaisons to Connect Health Departments with Communities

Community liaisons are staff within a health department who are members of refugee, immigrant, and migrant and other disproportionately impacted communities.  Select this promising practice to learn how liaisons build relationships with community members, collaborate with local public health, and connect with external partners. 

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Vulnerable Populations Taskforce

The creation of a vulnerable populations task force is a promising practice to address the needs of community members impacted and further disenfranchised by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Select this promising practice to learn more about how task forces can operate remotely and offer an opportunity to engage a wide range of stakeholders. 

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COVID-19 Community Coordinators 

Health departments have begun to formalize relationships with community-based organizations to connect diverse communities to COVID-19 resources. Select this promising practice to learn more about how COVID-19 Community Coordinator model. 

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Community Testimonials for Health Messaging

Testimonials are powerful tools to portray real stories from community members. 

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Partnerships with State Refugee Health Coordinators

State Refugee Health Coordinators can help state and local public health departments better address refugee health needs as part of a comprehensive and effective COVID-19 public health response. Select this promising practice to learn more. 

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Vaccine Campaign Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations

Faith-based organizations frequently play an integral role within communities. Select this promising practice to learn more about involving faith-based organizations in vaccine campaigns.

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Partnership with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)

FQHCs and local health departments 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.

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Community-Led Hotlines

COVID-19 hotlines, organized by volunteers and health providers who are members of or work in RIM communities, provide a forum for patients’ families to seek information and communicate more effectively with their health providers. 

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Community Health Workers

Community health workers are deeply rooted in their communities, often members of the community themselves, and are uniquely positioned to partner with health departments and other organizations in COVID-19 response.

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COVID Champions: Trusted Faith Leaders

A COVID-19 Champion is someone who helps disseminate accurate information on public health and safety, local support services, and their own experiences relating to COVID-19 to specific communities, including related to COVID-19 vaccines.

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Engaging Community Leaders with Public Health Authorities

Collaboration between community leaders and public health authorities can improve the dissemination of accurate COVID-19 prevention messaging, strengthen relationships with RIM communities, and ensure that public health interventions reflect the perspective of RIM communities.

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Culturally Specific Vaccine Information Broadcasts

By partnering with media outlets that are trusted in the community, vaccine messages can be culturally tailored and address unique concerns.

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Partnerships with Youth Groups

Partnerships with existing community groups are essential for reaching underserved communities and improving the delivery of COVID-19 related services, resources, and information. Youth groups can be especially effective outreach partners.

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Partnerships with Consulates

Engaging with consulates is a strategy for building or enhancing relationships with refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities. 

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

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.

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Embedding Equity throughout the COVID-19 Response Organizational Structure

It is essential to integrate considerations for refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities into all aspects of public health response efforts. Read more about the Minnesota Department of Health’s work to embed equity throughout the COVID-19 response organizational structure. 

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Community Mapping

Community mapping is a virtual mapping method created through community engagement that elicits local community members and their networks and is a powerful tool to identify and reach RIM communities.

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Vaccine Ambassadors Program

The Vaccine Ambassador program is led by a state health department and supports community members to serve as trusted messengers of COVID-19 vaccine information.

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Communities of Practice (CDC)
The CDC has developed a toolkit to learn and build Communities of Practice (CoPs) that support groups of people sharing a set of problems and solutions through regulation interaction. Click on this link to learn more about CoPs and how they can support your efforts. 

Principles of Authentic Community Engagement (MDH) 
The Minnesota Department of Health has developed a set of principles to guide community engagement. While not specific to COVID-19, these principles are relevant to COVID-19 response among refugees, immigrants, and migrants. 

Refugee Health Profiles (CDC)
The CDC has collected health and cultural information about specific refugee groups resettling in the United States. Information is gathered from the World Health Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.S. Department of State, scientific research, and many other sources.

The NRC-RIM team wants to hear from you. Please contact us with suggestions for additional training or communication resources - either an existing resource that you have found useful or suggestions for resources to be developed. 

Changed
April 13, 2021 at 3:42 PM