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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.

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:

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].