The Health Center News podcast series, Health Centers on the Front Lines: Fighting COVID, tells the inspiring story of the health centers that are trying to achieve equity and fairness in the historic race to vaccinate people in communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Every episode focuses on a different health center and the work to make sure that anyone, anywhere, can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Founded as part of the Civil Rights Movement, Community Health Centers bring a social justice lens to health care. Subscribe to the Health Center News and learn how a little-known health care program that’s been around for more than 50 years is bringing the shots to where the people are – and helping to build a path out of the pandemic.
Health Center News is produced by the National Association of Community Health Centers and supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.
Of the Community, for the Community: Lowell Community Health Center
Recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows the COVID-19 vaccination gap narrowing between white adults and people of color in the United States. Community Health Centers like Lowell Community Health Center in Massachusetts play a big role in closing that gap. In this episode, we talk with two staff members at Lowell about how their community outreach efforts have been critical in helping them vaccinate their patients, 40 percent of whom speak a primary language other than English.
Jeanmerli Gonzalez is Lowell's Community Outreach Coordinator and Brent Carney is Lowell's Communications Director.
The health center has strong roots in its diverse community and these connections have helped Lowell in administering a majority of vaccines to people of color. As the vaccination effort turns now to people who are undecided, children, and people affected by employer mandates, we hear about what’s working and what challenges remain.
"There's no one magic solution. It really is a one on one time period right now that we, you know, you really do need to reach out to each person individually and based on that person's age, their background, their personal situation at home, the way they're going to get information is going to be unique to each individual."
"This is a a learning process and that we're not on a short trip. We're on a long haul and that we want to make sure that we're just checking in on each other. I think that's a lot of things we've been doing on our end. I'm grateful for the health center and they're thinking about us and they've provided opportunities."
"The biggest barrier right now is really misinformation and that's, you know, across the board. So we're trying to make sure that we battle that misinformation in unique ways by trying to get providers on social media, doing videos, generally going out to events and talking to people and other community health workers doing that."
Learn More Links:
NACHC Podcasts: https://www.nachc.org/nachc-podcasts/
Health Centers Addressing Social Determinants of Health
This episode is a recording of NACHC's September webinar focused on the continued impact of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) on our communities and the strategies and partnerships health centers are developing and cultivating to address them head-on. The discussion featured:
* Cameron Webb, MD, JD, Senior Policy Advisor for Equity, White House COVID-19 Response Team
* Andrea Caracostis, MD, MPH, CEO - HOPE Clinic (TX) Rashad A. Collins, COO - Charter Oak Health Center, Inc. (CT)
* Antony Stately, PhD, CEO - Native American Community Clinic (MN)
View the video of this discussion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0ai6KuHRtg
This is the eighth installment of our monthly webinars offered as part of our “Propelling Our Mission Forward in NACHC’s 50th Year” series. View past webinars and learn about upcoming webinars.
Vaccinating Mississippi As Delta Variant Rages
Rural Americans are dying of COVID-19 at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts. On the latest episode Health Centers on the Front Lines we get an update from Mississippi and learn how health centers are fighting rampant misinformation to limit the spread of the Delta Variant and build trust in the vaccine. We also talk about how the Delta Health Center achieved 100% vaccination rate of its staff.
* Tara Miller-Gallion of the Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, the nation's first Community Health Center established by Civil Rights Leaders.
* Terrence Shirley from the Community Health Center Association of Mississippi
1:29 Terrence talks about the current political climate and how it's at odds with the medical community
2:59 Tara talks about how they are trying to educate the community about dangers of COVID and why they should get vaccinated
4:35 Tara explains the struggles of keeping patients correctly informed due to misinformation on social media
5:43 Terrence talks about how the misinformation of the vaccine is when it became politicized
7:12 Terrence talks about how they are partnering with various places around the state to hold training sessions to help assist the community
8:03 Tara talks bout the 19 sites with tents they have set up across the state to help administer the vaccine
9:29 Terrence talks about people who are against the vaccine and who speak negatively against it and how it hurts stopping the spread of COVID
10:25 Tara talks about overcoming her fear of needles to get the vaccine to protect her family
11:30 Tara talks about the struggle of convincing people to get vaccinated and the hardship of losing people to COVID
13:16 Terrence reflects on how he thinks his fathers outlook on the pandemic would be like
16:11 Terrence talks about the effect the Delta variant has had on the population
17:08 Tara talks about the history of the health center in Mound Bayou
Mound Bayou - a city in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,533 at the 2010 census, down from 2,102 in 2000. It is notable for having been founded as an independent black community in 1887 by former slaves led by Isaiah Montgomery.
Delta Health Center - Dr. H. Jack Geiger and Dr. Count Gibson (Tufts University Medical School Physicians) secured funding in 1965 from the Office of Economic Opportunity to establish what is now known as Delta Health Center, Inc. in Mound Bayou (then all African- American town), MS to serve Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, and Washington counties, where poverty was widespread.
"Efforts to encourage vaccinations through mandatory policies are perceived as an infringement upon the rights of a lot of people here in the state of Mississippi. And this impacts the ongoing hesitancy campaigns and minimizes participation at our ongoing vaccination events."
"The thing about it is a vaccine that's here to help us. Just like all the other vaccines, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, everything is here to help us. So it is something that's not prevent you from getting COVID but it would help your body to fight against it, and we emphasize the importance to them over and over again and just tell them that you can't listen to the media because a lot of times the people on these different social media platforms."
Social Media Links:
Protecting Essential Workers from COVID-19: Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center
Many of the nation’s essential workers – who didn’t have the option of working from home during the pandemic -- rely on Community Health Centers for health care. Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Oregon is the medical home for these workers, with a long history of serving agricultural workers and their families. As one of the first health centers in the state to receive vaccines directly from the federal government, Virginia Garcia took vaccines to the migrant worker camps and partnered with community groups to vaccinate other marginalized populations. We talk with Virginia Garcia about what’s working and what challenges remain in their effort to close the gap in the vaccination rate between the Latinx and Hispanic community and the rest of the population.
Leveraging Partnerships to Fight COVID
Neighborhood Health in Alexandra, VA, is in a race to protect the underserved and the unvaccinated against the Delta variant of COVID-19. In our second episode, Executive Director and clinician Basim Khan, MD, describes how the ground game against COVID has changed. Their strategy has shifted from operating mass vaccination sites to engaging hard to reach populations where they are and partnering with trusted messengers, such as faith leaders and community organizations, to build confidence in the COVID vaccine and counter misinformation.
Fighting Mistrust about Vaccines in the Rural Georgia
Our first episode shines a spotlight on a health center deep in America's Bible Belt. Albany Area Health Center serves a rural Georgia county that ranked 4th in the world for COVID-19 deaths per capita last summer. Their effort to battle the pandemic brought out the best in their community, but now they face the daunting challenge of vaccinating people who are undecided about the benefits of the vaccine. Hear how they’re approaching the next phase in the pandemic.
1:18 Amy shares a short clip created by staff members from Albany Area Primary Health Care explaining how the pandemic hit them unexpectedly
2:43 Ronda shares a little bit of history about their health center, the population, whom they serve, and the challenges they have faced for the past 18 months addressing the pandemic
4:13 Ronda also talks about how far the nearest health center was to them and who they really are
4:57 Pam talks about what she was thinking and feeling when the pandemic started to spread in their center quickly and they were in a good position before then
5:54 Ronda talks about why the State of Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates for Covid when they are declared an epicenter of Covid
7:48 Pam also shares some of the reasons she feels the State of Georgia has the lowest vaccination rates for Covid
9:37 Ronda and Pam talk about the number of vaccines they think they have administered already
10:21 Ronda also talks about how the vaccination hesitancy in the people that come to them to get vaccinated looks like and what they do to help them get over it
12:16 Ronda and Pam explain why it’s the conversation that they have with people to help them get over the fear of being vaccinated that works and not one message
14:25 Pam talks about if having conversations with the community about the vaccine helped to get rid of the misinformation that they had about the vaccine
15:55 Ronda and Pam talk about the Pfizer vaccine for 12 and older people and the strategies that they are using to reach this population
17:25 Pam talks about the passionate group of physicians and nurses who are volunteering to partner with the health center to do the work
19:40 Ronda talks about switching from the mass vaccination site model to bringing shots to where the people are and how effective it is and if people are still coming to them
22:02 Pam shares her thoughts on the Biden Administration wanting to get about 70% of the Americans vaccinated by July fourth and if that will be possible
24:17 Ronda also shares her thoughts on if it will be possible for the Biden administration to vaccinate about 70% of the Americans by July fourth
27:20 Ronda and Pam talk about what they feel they bring to the table as a health center that is so important for a successful vaccination process
30:28 Pam shares the advice that she gives to the people who come to the health center for information and they are listening while they are on the fence
31:34 Ronda also shares her advice to people who are hesitant of getting the vaccination and what they should do
32:38 Pam and Ronda share some of their low and high points as providers and volunteers in the past 18 months of fighting the pandemic
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is a better way to health and wellness. Our comprehensive network of physicians, nurses, and staff at three hospitals and more than 20 clinics delivers high-quality healthcare to the residents across Southwest Georgia.
The United States Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Pfizer Inc. is an American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation headquartered on 42nd Street in Manhattan, New York City. The name of the company commemorates its co-founder, Charles Pfizer.
“The driving factor to get vaccinated or to not get vaccinated has been fear.”
“There’s no amount of educatio