Healthcare Foundation

Getting a Boost

An update on grants to grassroots organizations that are leading on vaccine outreach and uptake in underserved communities

Last September, the Healthcare Foundation in collaboration with Partnership HealthPlan of California began distributing funds totaling over $350,000 to 15 community-based organizations on the front lines of the effort to increase vaccine uptake among our Latinx communities, who have been hardest hit by the pandemic’s multiple impacts on health and well-being.

Since then, this coalition of grassroots organizations has been successfully meeting and supporting Latinx and Indigenous community members across Sonoma County. Importantly, to accomplish this most of them employ bilingual and bicultural promotores de salud, or community health workers, as trusted health messengers and liaisons.

Specifically, since September, 12 community-based organizations (CBOs) have deployed promotores and other resources to conduct culturally relevant, Spanish-language and bilingual vaccine outreach to Latinx and Indigenous clients and community members across Sonoma County. CBOs also offered vaccine education and linkages in the context of holistic health services that included acupuncture, massage, herbalism, stress-reduction, and more—studies and anecdotal evidence showing that vaccine-hesitant clients who engaged in conversations about overall health were more receptive to vaccine outreach.

To this end, CBOs also trained and certified promotores to take blood pressure readings and conduct conversations about diabetes and hypertension as part of a larger conversation on overall health that included vaccine outreach. Weekly classes and guest speakers covered a range of vaccine- and health-related topics for these promotores, integrating vaccine information and messaging in classes on disaster preparedness, for example, or nutrition. These meetings also addressed the questions that promotores, as the liaisons with the community, bring back from the field.

Vaccine education and linkages to vaccinations, over this grant period, have come through a range of holistic health services, pop-up clinics, community workshops, and family-friendly events, as well as through visual, print, digital, and broadcast communications. Outreach has also come about through the regular presence of promotores and other health professionals at markets, churches, and vineyards. This multifaceted, community-based approach is proving crucial to the successful effort to increase access and address hesitancy and other barriers to vaccine uptake through culturally relevant, Spanish-language and bilingual outreach.

You can read more about this vital effort here. If you would like to support this work, please consider a donation. If you have already donated, we thank you greatly for being a part of the county-wide effort to support and protect our most vulnerable neighbors during this public health emergency.

To learn more about our commitment to supporting equitable access to culturally-sensitive healthcare and mental health services, as part of promoting overall community wellness, you can visit this page on the Healthcare Foundation’s new strategic plan.

We would like to express our deep gratitude and respect for the hard work, dedication, and compassion of Sonoma County’s amazing promotores, who are out in their communities each day with health-promoting and life-saving information, navigation, and support.

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Joel Lewis

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