REACH Recipient Spotlight: Leadership Council for Healthy Communities

Roll your Sleeve up to fight fluOrganization name: Leadership Council for Healthy Communities, Virtual Health Ministry – Influenza Program
Name of Project Leader/Implementer being interviewed: Mrs. Deonne Gantt-Bey
Priority population(s): African American

The VHM Influenza Vaccine Campaign (lasting from October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021) includes the Mask up, Lather Up, and Sleeve Up: Fight the Flu program, the goal of which is to increase vaccine opportunities and educate and inform residents and their families on how to take care of themselves during the flu season and COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative consists of three components:

  • The Virtual Health Ministry Call Center Care Team contacts their membership and community, administering an influenza phone survey to assess whether people had a flu shot and connecting those that haven’t to upcoming mobile clinics or vaccination providers in their areas.
  • Collaborating with their community partners — George Washington University Hospital, CVS pharmacies, Senior Centers and community food distribution providers — their faith institutions hosted three mobile clinics that offered drive thru and walk up free flu shots administered by GWU residents, with the goal to increase the number of vaccination opportunities for between 60-100 residents.
  • Outreach activities in Wards 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 distributed CDC flu awareness and COVID-19 prevention information, along with PPE, to over 400 people.

VHM Day of Care webinar series also hosted a Learn the Truth: Myths vs. Facts webinar concerning the Flu and COVID-19 vaccines, where myths were debunked and facts were provided about the safety and importance of the annual flu vaccination, along with the COVID-19 vaccine and its impact on the African American community.

Materials used to promote influenza vaccination include CDC awareness and prevention information, such as Flu Vaccine: Get the Facts, Vaccine Finder, Take 3 Steps to Fight the Flu, Influenza Vaccine: Who Should Get It and Who Should Not, and more! Educational videos were also used, including #SleeveUp: Roll Up Your Sleeve for Your Annual Flu Vaccine, Know The Symptoms of the Flu, and What You Need to Know About Handwashing.

Some challenges VHM has faced are developing culturally appropriate material for distribution to their target audience, in addition to gaining trust and reducing the negative perceptions regarding vaccinations and minority communities.

VHM’s successes include serving as credible and trusted messengers to educate and disseminate important health and wellness information to the community, as well as providing a platform where the community can learn and engage with medical professionals and subject matter experts through their virtual educational series.

A fun fact about their city, Washington, D.C., is that the Washington Monument moves! Technically The Washington Monument will sway about .125th of an inch if the wind is at least 30 miles per hour.

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