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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.

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 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.