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Fairfax County Health Department Partners with IPHI to Expand Contact Tracing Efforts


Fairfax County Health Department Partners with IPHI to Expand Contact Tracing Efforts

Today, the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) in Virginia announced a new partnership with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) to hire and train staff for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

Across the country, state and local jurisdictions are ramping up contact tracing as a central component of the fight against the pandemic.  Contact tracing is the process of communicating with individuals who have probable or diagnosed COVID-19 illness to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact and potentially exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Public health staff then reach out to those contacts to inform them of their potential exposure. As staff speak with contacts, they help individuals assess risk and share information and instructions for self-monitoring, isolation and staying healthy.

To help the Health Department scale up its contact tracing efforts, IPHI will recruit, hire and train contact tracing staff, community health workers, and other staff as needed who will be deployed to work as integrated members of the FCHD COVID-19 response team.

For more information on the initiative, see Fairfax County Health Department’s press release.

Information on available job opportunities and how to apply for the positions can be found on IPHI’s careers page at:

For more information on contact tracing, please visit:

Virginia Re-establishes Statewide Immunization Coalition in Response to Falling Immunization Rates

Virginia Re-establishes Statewide Immunization Coalition in Response to Falling Immunization Rates

With seed funding from the Virginia Department of Health, IPHI is working to re-establish a statewide immunization coalition in Virginia, called ImmunizeVA. The first coalition meeting will take place virtually in May 2020 after the initial launch was postponed in March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

ImmunizeVA is composed of public health professionals and community leaders from across Virginia working together to improve immunization rates in the Commonwealth. The vision of ImmunizeVA is a future where the quality and length of life of Virginians is not decreased by diseases that can be prevented by immunizations. ImmunizeVA will serve as an important and essential strategy to increase and improve immunization rates. With immunization rates falling across Virginia dramatically, the launch of this coalition is absolutely essential to improve coordination, public education and resource development for this critical public health issue.

For more information on ImmunizeVA, email [email protected].

Food Equity Council Leads COVID-19 Food Assistance Response in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Food Equity Council Leads COVID-19 Food Assistance Response in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Since the COVID-19 crisis began in March, the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) has been one of the leading organizations for Prince George’s County’s COVID-19 food assistance response. Housed at IPHI, the FEC’s work has focused on coordinating the diverse partners and County agencies working to address the food assistance response and support residents. During the COVID-19 response, the FEC has increased the support and services it provides to vulnerable residents and communities.

During the month of April 2020, the FEC achieved the following:

  • Provided direct food donation coordination to partners resulting in over 10,000 prepared meals delivered to residents in need;
  • Conducted resident food navigation services including connecting residents to food assistance providers;
  • Created and launched the County’s only comprehensive online food assistance directory which has received over 13,000 hits since it launched a month ago;
  • Coordinated with 211 and the Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline to direct staff to relevant food resources;
  • Provided County Council members and the County’s Library System with resources to share with their clients and constituents;
  • Co-Hosted bi-weekly virtual convenings for over 70 food assistance providers, non-profit partners, and County agencies and leadership in partnership with the Department of Social Services.
  • Coordinated daily with the County Executive’s office, County agencies, regional food councils, and the philanthropic community to ensure we are taking advantage of resources available and implementing promising practices and that there is widespread awareness of the food access needs of residents;
  • Coordinated with food businesses such as regional food hubs, restaurants, farmers markets, and growers to connect them to market opportunities that address both their needs and the needs of food-insecure residents; and
  • Provided educational resources and advocacy support for food businesses, growers, farmers markets, and restaurants.

While ramping up efforts to address urgent direct food assistance needs to residents, the FEC remains dedicated to contributing to long-term solutions and building infrastructure to help prepare the County for a future food assistance crisis management.

For more information on the Prince George’s Food Equity Council and to find out how to provide support, contact Sydney Daigle, [email protected].

IPHI Launches Weekly COVID-19 Video Conference Series for Community Health Workers

During the growing community spread of COVID-19 nationally and in our region, there has rightfully been discussion of the roles of community health workers (CHWs) in responding to the pandemic. CHWs are vital members of the health workforce and can contribute greatly during health emergencies and the recovery that follows. We believe there needs to be even more attention on this topic.

In response to the changing environment and requests from CHWs for information and support, the Institute for Public Innovation, through its Center for the Community Health Workforce, will launch a video conference series to have open discussions and presentations and provide tips, tools, and resources for CHWs and persons working with CHWs as they help individuals to navigate this COVID-19 crisis. We invite all DC, MD, and VA Community Health Workers, Outreach Workers, Community Health Advocates, Community Health Advisors, or anyone who provides community outreach, health education, healthcare navigation, peer-based social support, or similar roles to participate in this series.

Sessions will run every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. throughout April 2020, with the potential for continuation in subsequent months.  Recordings will be posted to IPHI’s YouTube channel.

For more information, please contact Program Coordinator Dwyan Monroe at [email protected].

IPHI to be Featured in National Workshop on the Workforce for Population Health Improvement

On March 21, 2019, the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, will convene a one-day public workshop to explore the broad and multidisciplinary nature of the population health workforce.  Michael Rhein and Dwyan Monroe from the Institute for Public Health Innovation will talk about community health workers in a segment of the workshop. The program will also include several community health workers from the DC, MD, and VA regions. The workshop will be webcast from the Roundtable’s webpage, and the proceedings of the presentations and discussion will be prepared following the event. Those interested in attending the event live may register: HERE.

Visit the CHW area of this website for more information on IPHI’s community health worker initiatives.

Summary of Public Input for Maryland’s First Food Charter Released

Summary of Public Input for Maryland’s First Food Charter Released

For Immediate Release:  November 7, 2016
Contact: Evelyn Kelly, 202-407-7086  [email protected]


Washington, D.C. –  The Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) released Creating Maryland’s Food Charter: A Summary of Public Input, a document that summarizes the results of a 10-month public process to develop content for Maryland’s first Food Charter. The document includes input from hundreds of food policy stakeholders from across the state’s five main regions (Western, Capital, Central, Southern and the Eastern Shore).

Many organizations and food coalitions throughout Maryland are working on issues ranging from urban agriculture to food recovery. Although much of their work may interconnect, they are often operating in isolation simply because much of the work is done at the local level without a state-wide lens. Accordingly, IPHI and a diverse group of stakeholders have been working to foster collaboration and collective action at the state level for a healthy, just, and sustainable food system in Maryland.

“The public input process was the first step towards developing the Food Charter, which will be a living document that unites food system stakeholders around collective values and goals,” said Evelyn Kelly, Senior Program Manager with the Institute for Public Health Innovation. “Ultimately, we want to create an awareness of the different components of the food system and spur collective action to make impactful changes in the area of food policy.”

In 2014, IPHI began a state-wide effort to listen to concerns from all over the state with regards to the Maryland food system. During the first phase of the project, IPHI conducted a series of regional convenings combined with a needs and asset assessment that produced community-led action steps and recommendations to create an optimal food system. Guiding the planning, implementation, and evaluation of this initiative is an Advisory Committee composed of eight members that represent multiple food system sectors and interests.

“Over the past few years, we have seen a consistent increase in the number of states with food policy councils or networks across the country, so Maryland is in good company in its effort bring these stakeholders together,” said Anne Palmer, Program Director of the Food Communities & Public Health Program within the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Advisory Committee member to the Initiative.

For the second phase, IPHI plans to finalize the Food Charter to engage and enhance awareness of policy makers in the food system. The Maryland Food Charter will be released in Spring 2017. This initiative was made possible through a grant awarded by the Town Creek Foundation. To learn more about the Food Charter or to provide input regarding the preliminary goals and strategies, visit

A PDF of this press release can be accessed here.


About Institute for Public Health Innovation

IPHI creates partnerships across sectors and cultivates innovative solutions that improve health and well-being for all populations and communities across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, particularly those most affected by health inequities. IPHI’s work enhances the environments and conditions in which people live, age, work, learn, and play; strengthens health service systems and public policy; and builds organizational and community capacity to sustain progress.  IPHI is one of 44 public health institutes across the country and a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes. For more information on IPHI, see, and follow IPHI on Facebook and Twitter @InstitutePHI.

Positive Pathways Recognized for its Effectiveness Addressing HIV/AIDS

Positive Pathways Recognized for its Effectiveness Addressing HIV/AIDS

“Washington, D.C., had, at the end of 2006, the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS in the country. In June 2015, NBC reported that the city’s rate of infection was down for the sixth year running. This because of HIV and AIDS programs like Positive Pathways, a collaborative initiative between the Washington AIDS Partnership and the Institute for Public Health Innovation. Positive Pathways is a peer-driven program in high-need communities, providing access to treatment and support for HIV-positive African-American people, focusing on women and their partners.”  See this article for a reference to IPHI and Positive Pathways in a look at effective HIV/AIDS programs in eight U.S. cities.

Montgomery County Receives Major National Investment for Community-Based Efforts to Prevent Chronic Disease

Montgomery County Receives Major National Investment for Community-Based Efforts to Prevent Chronic Disease

Silver Spring, Maryland (March 3, 2016) –   Trinity Health, one of the country’s largest health systems, has awarded a Montgomery County, Maryland collaborative $500,000 per year for three to five years to implement a range of public health strategies that can reduce obesity, promote tobacco-free living, and address social determinants that impact health outcomes. The grant is one of six made nationally through Trinity Health’s new Transforming Communities Initiative.  The local collaborative includes Trinity Health member Holy Cross Health, the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI), Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and Healthy Montgomery, the county’s local health improvement coalition.  IPHI will serve as the lead agency for the effort.

TCI launch Mar 2016

Holy Cross Health is proud that its Montgomery County partnership has been selected by Trinity Health for this multi-year, multi-million dollar grant to support and promote healthy lifestyles,” said Kevin J. Sexton, president and CEO of Holy Cross Health. “It is a logical extension of the work Holy Cross has done over many years in providing healthcare access to all and creating community partnerships to improve health.  We are very appreciative of the high quality partners who have joined together in this effort.”

The strategies will focus on policy, systems and environmental changes that offer long-term benefits for community health improvement, with a focus on the communities of Gaithersburg, Germantown, Long Branch and Takoma Park.  The announcement was made at an event held Tuesday, March 1 at Holy Cross Hospital.

“Montgomery County has tremendous leadership and collaborative spirit across government and community organizations,” said Michael Rhein, President & CEO of the Institute for Public Health Innovation.  “This is an extraordinary opportunity to work together to create healthier conditions and environments in areas of the county where we’ve identified some critical needs as well as notable assets.”

“This grant represents an important milestone in showcasing the strength of our partnership between Holy Cross Health, Institute for Public Health Innovation and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (MCDHHS),” said Uma Ahluwalia, director of MCDHHS.  “It advances the agenda of Healthy Montgomery, an effort to improve the health and well-being of our county’s residents.  We are humbled and grateful to be chosen and look forward to making important gains in the areas of obesity prevention and smoking cessation.”

In a later phase of the program, Montgomery County partners will have the opportunity to access low-interest investment loans through a complementary arm of the Trinity Health initiative to support interventions related to key determinants of health, such as access to healthy food, affordable housing and early childhood issues.

“I am delighted that Montgomery County has been selected as one of six communities nationwide to participate in the Transforming Communities Initiative,” said County Councilmember George Leventhal, chairman of the Council’s Health & Human Services Committee and co-chair of the Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee.  “This designation confirms that our efforts through Healthy Montgomery to bring together stakeholders to set public health priorities, improve population health and eliminate health disparities are making a real difference.”

For more information on the Healthy Montgomery Transforming Communities Initiative, contact Evelyn Kelly, [email protected].

IPHI’s Evelyn Kelly Honored as one of Maryland’s Leading Women

Evelyn Kelly, IPHI Senior Program Manager, was selected as one of The Daily Record’s 2015 Leading Women. The Leading Women awards honor 50 local women who are 40 years of age or younger for the accomplishments they have made so far in their careers. A panel of business and legal professionals and a representative of The Daily Record selected the honorees based on their professional experience, community involvement and commitment to inspiring change. The Daily Record launched the Leading Women awards in 2010 to recognize the next generation of Maryland’s women leaders.

The 2015 Leading Women awards will be presented December 7 at a reception and dinner in Annapolis. Winners will be profiled in a special magazine that will be inserted into the December 8 issue of The Daily Record and available online at