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Institute for Public Health Innovation Awarded $1 million to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations in Washington D.C. and Prince George’s County

Washington, DC — The Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) was awarded $1 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations in high-need areas of the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County, Maryland. IPHI was one of 127 organizations awarded $121 million in America Rescue Plan funds. The one-year grant will support IPHI in partnering with eight clinics and community-based organizations. Project partners will utilize community health workers (CHW) to share public health information and support their fellow community members to trust and receive the vaccine.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing health disparities and inequities in Washington, D.C. and neighboring Prince George’s County, Maryland. Residents in these communities need dedicated support to have their questions answered, navigate barriers to vaccination, and connect to necessary resources,” said IPHI president & CEO Michael Rhein. Outreach will focus primarily on the geographic areas of Southeast D.C. (wards 7 and 8) and the areas of neighboring Prince George’s County, Maryland that are closest to D.C. Historically, these areas have experienced poorer health outcomes due to a variety of social and economic factors and have lower rates of vaccinations. The collaborative efforts of this project will offer additional outreach, engagement, information, and navigation to resources from trusted, trained community members. Mobilizing CHWs is a critical strategy to achieve more equitable health outcomes.

IPHI will partner with the following local organizations:

  • Capital Area Food Bank
  • Damien Ministries
  • Family & Medical Counseling Service, Inc.
  • Food & Friends
  • La Clínica del Pueblo
  • Metro Health
  • Volunteers of America
  • Whitman-Walker Health

“With longstanding regional inequities more pronounced than ever, we’re pleased to work with IPHI to help people get the information and resources they need to safeguard their health. People want to hear from those they know and trust, and we’re proud to be a community partner that our neighbors can turn to,” said Capital Area Food Bank President Radha Muthiah. CHWs are trusted members of and/or have a close understanding of the community who are trained and employed as part of the public health workforce. Rhein added, “Using CHWs to enhance community outreach and health education is an evidence-based strategy. With the rise of the Delta variant, we cannot slow our efforts to offer every area resident the information and support needed to get vaccinated.”

IPHI will serve as the lead coordinating organization, providing overarching employment, training, management, and administrative support. Local partners will assist in recruiting CHWs from within their communities and serve as placement sites for the 12-month period. IPHI is hiring community health workers to work with the community in increasing vaccination. Candidates interested in applying for these positions should visit: here.

The goal of the American Rescue Plan funding is to support trusted voices in local communities in sharing information about vaccines, building vaccine confidence, and addressing barriers to vaccination for individuals in under-resourced communities. This funding was made available by the American Rescue Plan and is being distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through HRSA.


About Institute for Public Health Innovation

IPHI develops multi-sector partnerships and innovative solutions to improve the public’s health and well-being across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Our work strengthens health systems and policy, enhances conditions that promote health, and builds community capacity to ensure equitable health opportunities for all. IPHI is one of over 40 public health institutes across the country and a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes. For more information on IPHI, visit: Follow IPHI on Facebook and Twitter @InstitutePHI.