The National Minority Health Association (NMHA) today announced that it has received an $11.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The grant is part of the approximately $125 million available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) American Rescue Plan to develop and support a community-based workforce that will serve as trusted voices in sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines, increase vaccine confidence, and address barriers to vaccination for those living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities.

The grant funding will help community-based organizations like NMHA better mobilize frontline home health workers to conduct on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in receiving reliable information about vaccinations, scheduling vaccine appointments, and assisting with appointment transportation needs.

“I am very excited to see a mobilization of home health workers since they are on the front lines of this pandemic,” said ‘The Doctors’ host, Dr. Ian Smith. “We seek to amplify their trusted voice and support the home health effort to reduce hesitancy about taking the vaccine – and I am glad to help,” continued Smith.

The initiative will focus on 12 key states: California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

“We are honored that HRSA saw value in selecting the National Minority Health Association for this important mission of Increasing public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and boosting vaccinations within vulnerable and underserved communities,” said Burgess Harrison, Executive Director.

“Community health workers are a trusted voice within their respective neighborhoods and play a vital role in supporting this important effort to keep patients and loved ones safe. Our program is an example of health equity at work and achieves a key mission of NMHA as we serve populations that have historically suffered from poorer health outcomes, health disparities, and other inequities.” Harrison added.

To help further support this initiative, NMHA has assembled a comprehensive network of supporting partners to help ensure a broad geographic reach and achieve the goal of getting as many people vaccinated as possible. These supporting partners bring deep expertise to support this initiative through their experience in healthcare, marketing, communications, social media, technology, video production and content creation. These unique skills are crucial to further activate and continually engage home care agencies, home health workers, patients, consumers and multi-generational family networks in the fight against COVID-19.

“Trusted messengers play an essential role in sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines, answering questions, and ultimately convincing people to get vaccinated,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “This funding will support national, regional, and local organizations that will work directly with hard-hit, underserved, and high-risk communities to help bolster COVID-19 vaccination rates.”

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