266969 Faith-based organizations and public health agency collaborations: Reaching at-risk, vulnerable populations with seasonal influenza immunizations

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 4:30 PM - 4:45 PM

Connie Jorstad, MPP, MA , Infectious Disease Division, The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
Mimi Kiser, RN, MPH, DMin , Rollins School of Public Health, Interfaith Health Program, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Background: Disparities in seasonal influenza highlight the importance of reaching vulnerable and minority populations with pandemic and seasonal influenza prevention. Faith-based organizations are often well-respected, trusted sources of information and guidance within their communities; as such, they are uniquely positioned to reach diverse populations with public health messages and interventions. We describe a model for working with community and faith-based organizations of different religious traditions to reach vulnerable populations. Methods: Ten diverse sites were selected based on their ability to reach vulnerable populations. Sites receive a small grant each year, training, technical assistance and up-to-date influenza information regularly. Sites focus on assuring access to prevention information and services for uninsured, low-income minorities, immigrants, refugees, homeless and migrant farm workers. A coordinating center collaborates with national partners to disseminate lessons learned from model sites through different public health networks. Results: From October 2009-April 2012, 10 sites conducted outreach through community and faith-based networks of 4606 organizations. During the current flu season, 14,387 persons have been vaccinated during 97 clinic events. All sites work with health departments, healthcare systems, and/ or Walgreen's to host vaccination clinics or supply volunteers. Most recently seven of the sites administered 1848 surveys at clinic sites to better understand the demographics, attitudes, and behaviors of those served. These data will be described during this session. Case studies are being conducted on three sites to better understand local capacity that extends the reach of public health to hard to reach populations through these kinds of trusted community networks.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify new and strategic key partners that strengthen public health capacity to reduce health disparities seasonal influenza and other health inequities. 2. Describe model practices for working with community and faith-based networks to extend the reach of public health to vulnerable, at-risk, and minority populations.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present as I direct a nationally-focused pandemic influenza and at-risk populations 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.