Helping Thousands in Washington, DC
By integrating essential social services with their COVID-19 outreach, the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities (LCHC) Vaccine Equity and Inclusion Initiative Team saw abundant success in their Washington, DC community. Through partnerships with the Virtual Health Ministry and Choose Health Life program, residents were referred to vaccination and testing opportunities along with mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other services. The team also identified and trained residents to serve as “influential messengers”, meaning members of the communities trusted by their peers who share accurate information about COVID-19 in compassionate and authentic ways. LCHC developed and administered a vaccine equity survey that assessed the community’s acceptance, awareness, and access to vaccine providers in their community. “We were able to truly assess the needs of our community and help them with available resources that could improve their health outcomes as a whole, not just as it pertains to COVID-19,” said Ryla Vessels, LCHC program coordinator. Overall, LCHC outreach efforts reached more than 3,000 people.