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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.

IPHI and the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council host Focus Groups to Address Food and Beverage Marketing

The Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) and the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC) are working in partnership with the National Collaborative for Health Equity and Drexel University to host focus groups in Prince George’s County, MD.The overarching objective of this study is to stimulate community action to address the targeted marketing of unhealthy foods. To view the flyer, click: HERE.

Inclusion Criteria

Participants can participate in the focus groups if they are:

  • Males or females between the ages of 18 to 25
  • Males or females between the ages 26 to 55 who have children ages 3 to 17 in their household
  • Self-identified as African American or Black American
  • Willing and available to participate in the two rounds of focus groups, held approximately 1 week apart at designated dates and times
  • Able to give informed consent
  • Able to speak, read, and understand English
  • Currently living in Prince George’s County, MD

Times and Dates of Focus Groups

  • 18-25 year old adult focus group: December 4th & 9th, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • 26-55 year old adult focus group: December 3rd & 10th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Drexel University received funding for this study from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and the study is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

To sign up or for more information, please contact Lauren Nixon at (240) 252-2016 or [email protected].

Southern Maryland Partners Launch PreventionLink

Southern Maryland Partnership Receives Major Federal Funding to Create Integrated Regional System of Chronic Disease Prevention and Care.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently awarded the Prince George’s County Health Department and a broad group of partners a $12 million, 5-year cooperative agreement to lead the collaborative development of regional infrastructure for chronic disease prevention and care across Southern Maryland.   Through this effort, called PreventionLink, the partners will combine evidence-based prevention and care approaches, technology, and communications strategies to create a multi-faceted integrated system for improving health and wellness related to chronic disease in Southern Maryland.   Partners expect that this innovative and groundbreaking effort will lead to an effective, sustainable and replicable model worthy of statewide and national attention.  IPHI is a primary PreventionLink partner and will provide technical assistance, training, and project management support.

For more information read the Prince George’s County Health Department Press Release.

Regional Update on CHW Workforce Development and Certification

CHW Certification and Workforce Development – Spring 2018 Update


Great news concerning CHW certification comes out of Maryland! Together with chapters of the Maryland CHW Network and other partners, IPHI was highly involved in the CHW certification legislation introduced during the recent legislative session. Delegate Clarence K. Lam and Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam continued to be two champions of CHW certification. With their leadership, the bill for voluntary CHW certification passed through the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Hogan May 8, 2018. This bill establishes the State Community Health Worker Advisory Committee within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and requires MDH to adopt specified regulations related to the training and certification of community health workers in the State. The bill also establishes the State Community Health Workers Fund.

IPHI joins the MD CHW Network and other stakeholders to witness Gov. Hogan sign the CHW certification bill into law May 8, 2018.

We at IPHI believe this a key milestone in achieving CHW sustainability in Maryland and recognize the hard work and dedication of everyone, particularly the Maryland CHWs, who worked tirelessly advocating for the bill. There is still a lot of work to be done and we look forward to partnering with MDH, The Maryland CHW Network, and other stakeholders to continue working towards CHW sustainability.

To find out more read the final bill in its entirety.


IPHI, together with the Virginia Community Health Worker Association, held a one-day forum for community health workers from across the Commonwealth of Virginia on May 18, 2018, at the Libbie Mill Library in Richmond, Virginia. The forum featured speakers with expertise in Medicaid, opioids, disabilities, housing, and equity among other key topics. The primary goals of the forum were to:

  • Train CHWs on topics such as Medicaid, opioids, cultural humility, and working with special populations;
  • Provide updates on the state of CHW workforce development in Virginia, with a special emphasis on CHW certification; and
  • Provide opportunities for CHWs from across the Commonwealth to connect with the Virginia Community Health Worker Association.

Certified Community Health Worker Credential Now Available 

IPHI is pleased to announce that a new credential for community health workers is now available through the Virginia Certification Board. Since 2012, IPHI has worked with partners in Virginia on CHW workforce development through the CHW Advisory Group, and we are proud of the progress that has been accomplished by this partnership. The credential was developed by and reviewed, approved, and supported by the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Community Health Worker Advisory Group, and the Virginia Community Health Worker Association.

Requirements for CHW certification can be found in the certification application by clicking on this link: CCHW Application. Learn more about the Virginia Certification Board online at For questions about the CCHW process, email Virginia Certification Board at [email protected]. IPHI will continue to work with partners to refine the certification process as well as to support and implement policies that advance the CHW workforce in VA.

See IPHI’s Community Health Worker Initiatives for more information or contact [email protected].

Baltimore City CHW Forum

On June 21, 2017 IPHI collaborated with the Baltimore City Health Department, and Baltimore Area Health Education Center (BAHEC) to co-sponsor the Baltimore City Chapter of the Maryland Statewide CHW Network’s first citywide CHW Forum at the  Vollmer Center at Cylburn Arboretum.

More than 120 CHWs, CHW allies, and supporters attended. Throughout the day speakers addressed a range of issue including:

  • CHWs Helping Patients with Hypertension & Diabetes
  • Tobacco Use and Heart Disease – A Historical Perspective on Tobacco Use and African Americans
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Community Health Workers Association – Baltimore Chapter Presentation


It was a great day to recognize the hard work CHWs contribute to fighting disease and health disparities in Baltimore.