229201 Utilizing the Trust of Faith Communities to Deliver Free Influenza Immunizations for Uninsured Minority Populations

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Patricia Peterson, MPA , Department of Community Health, Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis, MN
Issues: Minnesota leads the nation in influenza coverage with the White population. However, when considering populations of color, the coverage rates for all immunizations are significantly less. Because of health disparities, barriers to immunizations exist for uninsured, minority populations. The barriers include the lack of insurance, mistrust of the government and medical profession, transportation and scheduled appointments. Receiving an annual flu shot is important; influenza is a preventable disease yet every year children and adults die from complications of influenza.

The Project: Led by Fairview Health Services, a community-based collaboration was formed in early 2006 for the purpose of delivering free influenza immunizations for uninsured persons age three through adult. Using non-traditional settings such as faith communities, the collaboration, which is called the MINI project (Minnesota Immunization Networking Initiative), organizes free flu shot "clinics" on days such as Sunday when persons are already in the building.

Results/Lessons Learned: Now in its fourth season, the MINI project has provided over 20,000 free influenza immunizations. Primarily because of the trust, many barriers are overcome to reach persons who typically do not receive preventative measures. This has enabled MINI to reach Latino, African American, Native American, Burmese, Asian, Somali, Tibetan and Ethiopian populations. Faith Communities that have hosted MINI clinics include Catholic, Lutheran, Burmese Buddhists, Burmese Baptists, Muslim, Hindu, Tibetan, Ethiopian Orthodox, Ethiopian Oromo and Eritrean. Although MINI adds new sites every year, a network of faith communities which has hosted clinics every provides a sustainable infrastructure for the project.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify barriers to immunizations for uninsured, minority populations 2. Articulate standards for vaccine delivery in non-traditional settings 3. Develop a community based model for increasing immunizations

Keywords: Faith Community, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present on this topic because I am the founder and director of this free flu shot project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.