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The AAMC Center for Health Justice’s competitive grant program promotes greater and stronger collaborations between teaching hospitals and their local public health and community organizations.

Screenshot of the VaccineVoices website

The AAMC was awarded a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and increase vaccinations around the country. As part of the CDC-funded Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships grant program, the AAMC Center for Health Justice is promoting stronger cross-sector collaboration between its member institutions, public health departments, social services agencies, and community-based organizations to support both near- and long-term responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Map of US with pins at awardee locations

The AAMC Center for Health Justice supports five community partnerships selected to receive funding. Each team is led by an AAMC-member medical school or teaching hospital and includes public health departments, social service agencies, and faith- or community-based organizations. Local organizations — which are often closest to their own community’s health challenges — are best positioned to provide effective solutions. The partnerships funded by the award: 

  • Develop patient- and community-engaged, COVID-19-related interventions and communication strategies.
  • Leverage relationships with local community- and faith-based organizations to develop messaging that is relevant to marginalized communities and recognizes the varying socioeconomic needs and differing levels of trust in health systems and government, including among health care sector workers.
  • Create vaccination campaigns tailored for hard-to-reach and/or vaccine-hesitant communities.

Meet the community partnership programs:

Young people wearing COVID masks link arms in a huddle

How Academic Medicine and Community Organizers Are Creating Trustworthy COVID-19 Messaging

Two partnerships funded by the Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships grant program are using comics and technology to answer their communities' questions about COVID-19 vaccination.

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A doctor and patient wearing COVID-19 masks and looking at a tablet together.

Improving COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Through Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations

Two faith-based partnerships funded by the Building Trust and Confidence Through Partnerships grant program are working with communities to increase COVID-19 vaccination.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Bronx, New York is home to the largest ethnically diverse West African population in the United States. Physician leaders at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center have already established successful models of delivering health information (on hepatitis B screening and malaria prophylaxis) to this community by partnering with faith-based institutions, community advisory board leaders, and medical professionals of West African origin. Now they will apply the same community partnership model to deliver culturally sensitive information to increase the West African community’s trust and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine. The Captain Empath vs. COVID-19 Activity Book, developed by the partnership, is a fun, educational resource for community health workers to use when guiding community members through the misinformation that may delay vaccination efforts in vulnerable communities. The book, also available in Spanish, highlights the importance of community and self-reflection while living through a pandemic.

Henry Ford Health System

The state of Michigan has the fourth-highest COVID-19 mortality rate for Black residents. In Detroit, more than 75% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 — and nearly 90% of people who die of COVID-19 — are Black. Black Detroiters have low levels of community trust and low health literacy, experience high levels of poverty, and experience transportation challenges. The Henry Ford Health System, the Faith Community Nursing Network, and Trusted FACE (Faith-based Activation for COVID Elimination ) will work together to engage faith leaders in Detroit as credible information sources about the COVID-19 vaccine. Increased vaccine access will be made available through outreach events at New Life Ambassadors for Christ Church, New Calvary Baptist Church, and Shekinah Tabernacle Gospel Church.

Meharry Medical College

Davidson County, Tennessee, which includes the city of Nashville, has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. Meharry Medical College and St. Jude Hospital will partner with two Nashville area community organizations — Congregational Health Education Network and Better Options — to develop a culturally-targeted social marketing campaign to build vaccine confidence among African Americans and Latinos in Davidson County. YourCoVidVaxFacts.com offers up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccines for children, adults, and teens in English and in Spanish.

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Health Department, and First Ladies for Health (a faith-based community organization) will form a partnership to increase communication and education about COVID-19 vaccines, using trusted sources of information. By combining the science and education foundation of the academic medical center, the public health reach of the health department’s clinics, and the high level of community trust and direct outreach that First Ladies for Health is known for, the groups intend  to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates to equal that of the White population in 10 historically marginalized communities across the city. The project will specifically aim to reach persons living in poverty and persons without health insurance, as well as African American, Spanish-speaking, and African and other immigrant populations living in Cincinnati’s under-resourced neighborhoods. These COVID FAQs answer eight top-of-mind concerns from community members with unique, colorful graphics.

Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

The Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine has developed a partnership with the Spokane Regional Health District and three community organizations — Latinos en Spokane, Black Lens, Carl Maxey Center, and Community Health Association of Spokane — to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates across Spokane county through educational outreach and vaccine clinics with trusted community partners. This grant award will allow the partners to expand these efforts by coordinating health sciences faculty and students to assist community health workers in hosting educational sessions, developing outreach materials, and supporting vaccine clinics for disproportionately affected communities. These materials will complement broader health education materials made by the state and county health departments by answering specific questions raised by community members and reflecting their unique experiences and concerns about vaccines.

These subawards are funded by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (award number 6 NU50CK000586-02-02). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The information provided does not necessarily represent the policy of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.