COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants Support 22 Communities to Improve Health Equity
Clinical Scholars awarded $298,000 in COVID-19 rapid response grants for communities experiencing increasing health disparities due to the pandemic.
Learn more about our Fellows’ COVID-19 projects through the information and videos below.
Focus Area: Food/Housing Access
Seattle Veterinary Outreach & Collective Fulfillment and Assessment of Needs – SODO
Location: Seattle, WA
Fellows: Cathrine Wheeler, Jessica Lowery, Cholette Ness & Hanna Ekstrom
Partners: Seattle Veterinary Outreach; Collective Fulfillment and Assessment of Needs (CFAN-SODO); Lived Experience Coalition (LEC); Community Advisory Group to Healthcare for the Homeless Network (HCHN)
The Clinical Scholars team will work with CFAN-SODO volunteers to build relationships with homeless communities by providing needed items and care. This includes assistance as requested by the communities such as heating, ice packs for refrigeration, protection from rain, snow, rodents, and access to telecommunications. They will also offer veterinary and medical care to communities to improve access to healthcare, diminish emergency room visits, and prevent zoonotic disease transmission. Unhoused community members will be surveyed to learn of their greatest needs, challenges, and aspirations so that future resources can be applied intelligently.
Addressing COVID-Heightened Food Insecurity in Boston: Dorchester
Location: Dorchester, MA
Fellows: Samara Grossman, Annie Lewis-O’Connor, & Hanni Stoklosa
Partners: Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Community Health and Wellness; students from the Student Success Jobs Program of Brigham and Women’s Hospital; nonprofits Off Their Plate & Fresh Food Generation
Led by Samara Grossman, Clinical Scholars Fellows and their community partners provided 40 families with fresh, culturally appropriate Haitian food. Ms. Nadia Raymond, a person of Haitian ethnicity, was a cultural consultant. She informed what foods would be most appreciated and appropriate and gave insight into cultural aspects of the program that might be important. Each family received 2 boxes a month, for a total of 8 boxes throughout the time of the program. The SSJP students, who spoke Haitian, called families before each pick-up date to remind them of the date and time of the pickup, and interviewed them periodically throughout the program. Responses informed Fresh Food Generation to make changes to the contents of the boxes. This communication and iterative process allowed us to be responsive to what the community desired. Fresh Food Generation was a natural fit for the program, as the employees and leaders are from Dorchester, and were quite motivated to help their own community. For Off Their Plate, the importance of being culturally aware and competent when working with communities was impactful, and by the end of the project stated that moving forward they will seek to identify and select restaurants that are from, serve or have a history of working with the specific populations, realizing “its not one size fits all with food insecurity.”
Addressing COVID-Heightened Food Insecurity in Boston: Roslindale
Location: Roslindale, MA
Fellows: Samara Grossman, Annie Lewis-O’Connor, & Hanni Stoklosa
Partners: Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Community Health and Wellness; students from the Student Success Jobs Program of Brigham and Women’s Hospital; nonprofits Off Their Plate & Fresh Food Generation; Las Palmas Restaurant; and Roslindale Community Fridge
Led Samara Grossman, the team built on the success of the Dorchester food box program and addressed its challenges. By doing so, they provided 1500 families with fresh, culturally appropriate Dominican heat and eat meals. They adjusted for challenges when people are stretched thin by finances, transportation issues, parenting duties, and work schedules. The Roslindale Free Fridge filled the need to access free, ready to eat (as opposed to groceries that need preparation), culturally appropriate food at their convenience, at a location in their community that is easy to get to and near public transportation. Free Fridges are always open and are unmonitored, this allowed participants to access food on their schedule, as needed, as often as is needed. This was a crucial expansion from what we learned from the Dorchester COVID Response Project, where participation was limited by location and weather and transportation options. For more information, read our blog post.
Heat and Eat Meals in COVID
Location: Triangle Area of NC
Fellows: Thava Mahadevan, Derrick Hoover & Keturah Beckham
Partners: Farm at Penny Lane; XDS Inc.; Breakaway Café; UNC Wake and Chatham Assertive Community Treatment Teams
Project collaborators will work together and deliver 100 healthy nutritious Heat and Eat meals weekly to our target group. Breakaway cafe, a local restaurant will prepare and package the meals to be picked up and delivered in person by outreach staff. The restaurant will incorporate fresh produce and vegetables (seasonal) from the Farm at Penny Lane.
Focus Area: Rural Communities
Vaccine Dissemination with a Racial Equity Lens in Western North Carolina
Location: Western North Carolina
Fellows: Dolly Byrd, Amanda Murphy, & Beth Buys
Partner: Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC)
MAHEC is developing a broad vaccine dissemination plan that incorporates a racial equity lens to ensure the thoughtful and intentional consideration of people of color in WNC. MAHEC will conduct 2-3 focus group sessions/community conversations with our community members of color/key stakeholders to develop a vaccination implementation plan that thoughtfully engages their input to 1) ensure equitable availability of the vaccine; and 2) address barriers to/improves acceptability of vaccines in our communities of color across WNC. We plan to engage these community voices to help develop a public health campaign that includes public service announcements and promotional public health items to garner vaccine acceptance and increased immunization rates in WNC communities of color.
EMS Solutions for COVID Response and Health Leadership
Location: Washington state
Fellows: Karen Jacobsen, Kevan Coffey, Sheila Brandenburg, Justin Porter & Raleigh Bowden
Partners: Aero Methow Rescue; Confluence Health; Family Health Centers
As the only 24/7, 365 days per year healthcare agency in the Methow Valley, we know our community and we know our patients. Based on this knowledge and in communication with our local clinics, we will identify at risk individuals that could benefit from a home visit. In these home visits our agency can provide several helpful services that will help address healthcare gaps during a pandemic in a rural community. We can provide hands on assessment that is not possible through a telehealth appointment. We can provide home environment assessment that can identify potential risks (like fall risks) that the primary care doctor is unaware of. We can provide COVID 19 testing for patients with our BD Antigen analyzer. We can provide advocacy for patients struggling and in need of social supports. Lastly, we can provide the time to listen and talk with our patients in a way that physicians cannot in the 15 min clinic visit. In short, we can be nimble and mobile to respond to our community’s need in a pandemic.
Institute for Preventive Healthcare and Advocacy’s Safe Access for Equitable Therapy 4 You (SAFET4Y)
Location: Asheville, NC
Fellow: Kathey Avery
Partners: Institute for Preventive Healthcare and Advocacy (IFPHA); Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation; Veterans’ Treatment Court; UNC-Asheville; Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC); Housing Authority of Asheville; Council of Aging; Pisgah Legal; Mission Health Partners; Bio-One cleaning services; Minnie Jones
Safe Access for Equitable Therapy 4 You (SAFET4Y) addresses mental health, especially around issues of Obsessive-Compulsive trauma and other related disorders during the particularly tenuous time of COVID-19. SAFET4Y directly supports community members with differing abilities to live a healthy and independent life within low income areas. A team of interdisciplinary clinicians and community health and other workers, utilize a holistic approach, to provide interventions to help participants reclaim living areas and turn them back into safe, uncluttered rooms. With more manageable space and attention to their basic physical and mental health needs, participants can better take care of themselves and each other at a time of great concern both physically and mentally.
Focus Area: Latinx Communities
Preparing to Address Obesity post-COVID: Building the Case for Youth Recreational Sports Leagues
Location: Baltimore, MD
Fellows: Sarah Polk & Julie Plasencia
Partner: Comité Latino
The proposed project builds upon previous community-engaged research on child obesity and youth suicide among Latino children in immigrant families. From 2018-2020 we partnered with a local community organization, Comité Latino, to engage immigrant families, community leaders, healthcare delivery experts and academic researchers in identifying policy priorities related to promoting healthy child weight. In a separate, parallel effort, we conducted focus groups with Latino youth and parents to identify elements of future suicide prevention interventions for Latino youth. In both projects, families, community leaders and youth described the need for sports leagues that could provide a safe opportunity for exercise and a means of socializing with others in the community. Informed by the community, we will strengthen and present the case for policy change required to establish sports leagues in Baltimore.
Unmet Contraceptive Care Needs Among Latina Immigrant Women During COVID
Location: Baltimore, MD
Fellows: Sarah Polk & Hanni Stoklosa
Partners: Latino Family Advisory Board; Baltimore Health Department; BMC Obstetrics; Baltimore Medical Systems; Planned Parenthood of Maryland; Maryland House of Delegates
Aim 1. To quantitatively analyze birth spacing before and during the COVID-19 pandemic among immigrant Latina women compared to non-immigrant women using electronic medical record data from two obstetrics practices serving diverse populations and offering low-cost or free prenatal care to uninsurable, income-eligible women. Aim 2. To conduct semi-structured qualitative interviews with clinicians and community organization leaders serving the contraceptive care needs of immigrant Latina women to assess community- and policy-level barriers to contraceptive care. Aim 3. To conduct semi-structured qualitative interviews with Latina immigrant women who became pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic to explore barriers and facilitators to contraceptive care.
Identifying and Addressing Mental Health Needs of Latinx Immigrants During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Location: Denver, CO
Fellows: Adrian Boka, Kayce Berke, Lilia Cervantes, Natalie Ritchie & Rocio Pereira
Partners: Denver Health; Vula Health
Two licensed mental health clinicians from Denver Health, the Clinical Scholars team, and the community organization Vuela for Health will partner to address the mental health needs of Latinx immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together they will develop tools to more effectively identify and refer Spanish-speaking Latinx adults with mental health needs. The project will develop and test linguistically- and culturally-appropriate mental health assessment and referral processess and tools for Spanish-speaking, predominately low-income adults. The team will aim to specifically identify the stressors affecting Latinx immigrant adults during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify and address barriers to accessing mental health resources during this time.
Focus Area: Youth Mental Health
Developing a Conversation Framework About Racism for Asian Immigrant Parents
Location: Boston, MA
Fellows: Justin Chen & Juliana Chen
Partners: Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness; Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Boston University
The Pandemic Resilience in Asian Immigrants: Study of Experiences Project (PRAISE Project) is a 30- to 40-minute online survey administered to Chinese and Korean immigrant parents. The survey has been translated into Chinese and Korean and will inform real-life interventions. Parent perspectives regarding racial discrimination and socialization, and psychosocial concerns (resilience, social support, family communication) will be assessed. Our findings will be used to develop a discrimination conversation framework tailored to Chinese and Korean immigrant parents.
Improving the Social/Emotional and Coping Skills of 9th & 10th Grade Black Males Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Fellows: Wanda Thruston & Barbara Pierce
Partners: Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON); North Central High School (NCHS); Metropolitan School District of Washington Township (MSDWT); Cummins Behavioral Health Services (CBHS)
In partnership with Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON), North Central High School (NCHS) of the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township (MSDWT) and Cummins Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), this COVID-19 Rapid Response Project proposes to provide mental health therapy and services to vulnerable students and their families affected by COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, the MSDWT schools have opened and closed for in-person learning depending upon the district and county COVID-19 school guidelines.
Addressing Health Inequity and Supporting Innovation Through COVID-19 in Schools
Fellows: Aukahi Austin Seabury & Camlyn Masuda
Partners: I Ola Lāhui, Inc.; Ke Kula ‘O Samuel M Kamakau, Laboratory Public Charter School;
IOL will partner with other health professionals to assess needs, provide training, and support innovation efforts at Kamakau School. 1. Conduct focus group interviews with Kamakau faculty, staff, and administration to: a.) Understand COVID-19-related challenges to mental health and wellbeing; b.) Identify existing and potential innovations to respond to the changing needs of faculty, staff, students and families, and community. 2. Provide a training to Kamakau faculty, staff, and administration in the use of culturally- minded practices and framework to support mental health and well-being. 3. Support Kamakau in maintaining follow up support in standing meetings Geographic area or community(ies) targeted
Focus Area: K-12 Schools
Supporting Houseless Hawai’ian Children’s Wellbeing and Education in COVID
Fellows: Francie Julien-Chinn, Marjorie Mau, Dee-Ann Carpenter & Camlyn Masuda
Partners: Partners in Development Foundation’s Ka Pa‘alana Homeless Family Education Program (Ka Pa‘alana)
There are two main components to this project. The first is to conduct a needs assessment of the families involved in the Ka Pa‘alana program. The second is providing needed equipment (WiFi hotspots, charging devices, and protective cases) to sustain the program during COVID-19. We aim to provide as much equipment as possible, however may have to prioritize sites due to cost.
Supporting Chicago’s Students Asthma Health in COVID
Location: Chicago, IL
Fellows: Tarrah DeClemente, Jeannine Cheatham, Anna Volerman, Kenneth Fox & Stacy Ignoffo
Partners: Chicago area school staff, school nurses and community health workers (CHWs)
We aim to further understand the impact of COVID-19 on Chicago Public School (CPS) students who have chronic health conditions (with a focus on asthma) and their familiesWe will accomplish this aim by surveying the parents of students attending the two schools about the pandemic’s impacts. We will consider utilizing components of the Epidemic – Pandemic Impacts Inventory (EPII)iv, a tool designed to learn about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domains of personal and family life. We will also develop targeted questions about the pandemic’s impacts on proper chronic disease management. Using the results of this survey, we will enhance the support we are providing within the schools via trained CHWs embedded in the schools.
In addition, we aim to support students and their families with the tools necessary to control their asthma at home. To help support students with asthma during this time of e-learning, we will develop, and CHWs will deliver, toolkits designed to help families support proper asthma management at home. Toolkits will include: a green cleaning kit (baking soda, vinegar, liquid soap, clean spray bottles, tea tree oil, lemon juice, olive oil, sponges, soft cloths); a spacer; bags for inhaler/spacer and asthma action plan storage, and cloth face masks.
Creating a Culture of Trust in Casey County
Location: Casey County, KY
Fellows: Charles Carlson, Julie Plasencia, Angela Grubbs, Audrey Darville & Craig S. Miller
Partners: Walnut Hill Elementary School (WHE); University of Kentucky
Currently, misinformation and polarizing attitudes towards science and health are a threat to the health of communities. Our proposal offers application of social cognitive theory for addressing the ongoing stress and behaviors associated with COVID-19 in an elementary school in Casey County – the target of our WPIP. Specifically, we will provide personal and social motivation using a Casey Health Kit to demonstrate our gratitude to the faculty and school personnel at Walnut Hill Elementary School (WHE). The kits will be distributed to all teachers, administrators, food service and custodial staff. These kits will include health messaging which encourages health, gratitude, and optimism and sharing of personal healthy activities with other employees using the hashtag #caseyhealthchallenge. The school personnel currently use a social media platform (Facebook) to maintain communication.
Focus Area: Indigenous Communities
San Carlos Apache Tribe (SCAT) Wellness Path Project
Location: San Carlos Apache Tribe
Fellows: Leolani Ah Quin & Kelly McGrady
Partners: Wellness Center; Space Craft ; Wellness Center Youth Services–Mentorship Program; San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation; San Carlos Apache Language Preservation; San Carlos Unified School District; San Carlos Apache Tribe–Department of Health and Human Services
This six month project focuses on developing a Wellness Trail and lookout shelter behind our health center campus as a participatory learning tool. A series of creative workshops will provide a framework for the children, youth and families of our Boys and Girls Mentorship Programs to draw on nature as a creative and cultural resource. Various creative mediums of representation such as storytelling, drawing and model-making will be used to capture their learning process and will be organized into a community exhibition to celebrate the work, and culminate the project.
Kūpuna COVID Pandemic Response
Fellows: Chad Kawakami, Pia Lorenzo & Robin Miyamoto
Partners: University of Hawai’i; Hawai’i Health Ideas (HIHI)
The Kūpuna (Elderly) Covid Pandemic Response (K-CPR), plans to train nursing students in geriatric medicine, psychology, pharmacy, nursing and social work and deploy them to reach out to CFFHs to connect them with vulnerable seniors in need of long-term care. In partnership with Hawai`i Health Ideas (HIHI), a 501c3 non-profit with expertise in supporting care homes and Medicaid seniors, the information gathered will be 4 transformed into a culturally sensitive, searchable database of available ARCHs and CFFHs free of cost to the community. The database will also be widely disseminated to hospitals, nursing homes and key healthcare organizations to help alleviate patient load in hospitals and nursing homes overburdened with dealing with COVID-19.
Responding to Need for Increased Healthcare Services for Children in Rural Montana and on the Fort Peck Reservation
Fellows: Chelsea Bodnar, Michael Hasselberg & Monica Taylor-Desir
Partner: Montana Pediatrics
Monica Taylor-Desir, Michael Hasselberg, and the Clinical Scholars team will collaborate on the creation of instructional videos on how to access care for those with low literacy and low technology literacy. They will be formulated and edited with feedback from members of the the communities in need of these services – including families and providers from small rural communities, the Fort Peck reservation as well as a growing number of interested frontier areas of the state. In addition, paper materials will breakdown the access options that local providers can use with families for support in the after hours time and what it means for escalation of care if a child starts with a tele-medicine visit.
Focus Area: Adult Mental Health
From Love to Political Action: Compassionate Leadership
Location: Puerto Rico
Fellows: Ursula Aragunde-Kohl & Lydael Vega-Ortera
Partners: PR Animals recipient and UAGM collaborator
The project goal is to increase access, capacity and infrastructure at UAGM Gurabo Campus in collaboration with PR Animals by developing and implementing a comprehensive and effective Peer Leadership Program that will increase the competencies and tools of the Animal Welfare Community to continue working with the Puerto Rican communities that will increase respect, compassion, and empathy toward animals, through the promotion of new educational and work strategies and the involvement in the development of public policies for the creation of social services for the companion animals that would help to minimize the population of abandoned companion animals on the streets, a situation that has increased, during the crisis of COVID 19 and afterwards.
COVID-19 Impacts for People with Severe Mental Illness in Kentucky
Location: Lexington, KY
Fellows: Seth Himelhoch & Marian Currens
Partners: National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI); Eastern State Hospital; UK Department of Psychiatry
In partnership with the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) in Lexington, Kentucky, the goal of this project is to use a mixed-method approach to: 1) Document understanding and knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms, key COVID-19 prevention methods and access to key health care services among a community sample of people living with serious mental illness using a standardized battery of questions. 2) Describe barriers and facilitators of COVID-19 related health care services through in-depth interviews of a purposive sample of people living with mental illness. 3) Disseminate findings and advocate with people living with serious mental illness to local health care entities, city, county and state level officials regarding resource reallocation and realignment to ensure healthcare equity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Development of a Peer Mentoring Program for Nursing Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Location: Durham, NC
Fellows: Lily Chen, Weiyang Xie & Wanda Thruston
Partners: NCCU Dept. of Nursing; Artois Mae Consulting, LLC; University of Notre Dame Counseling Center
United Chinese Americans (UCA) propose to hire Artois Mae Consulting, L.L.C. to collaboratively develop a peer mentoring program for the junior and senior nursing students attending North Carolina Central University School of Nursing (NCCU). The proposal for this COVID-19 Rapid Response Project is the first of a two-phase project that develops, implements, and evaluates a peer mentoring program for nursing students affected by COVID-19. The impetus in creating this program at NCCU is the increase in student stress and anxiety observed by the nursing faculty over the last eight months. They desire to offer their students an evidence-based approach to improve their self-efficacy in developing their social, emotional, and coping skills.
Creating an Integrative Services and Health Care Virtual Access Program for Justice System-Involved People
Location: Newark, NJ
Fellows: Stephanie Bonne, Pat Walling & Colleen Smith
Partners: University Hospital, Newark Community Solutions (NCS); Essex County Comprehensive Emergency Assistance System/Continuum of Care (CEAS/COC); Essex County Division of Community Action (DCA); Division of Family Assistance and Benefits (DFAB); City of Newark’s Division of Homeless Services; Newark Municipal Court; Newark Emergency Services for Families; The Salvation Army; Project Live
In the wake of the pandemic, Newark Community Solutions (NCS) has been piloting its Virtual Court Access Program (VCAP) successfully at a local homeless shelter and a community center. Through these efforts, NCS has identified cross-sector partners required to scale out the project to include healthcare, housing, and social service delivery. Funds for this project would allow for more purposeful coordination of these partners and their respective systems through strategic planning meetings, service integration, and thoughtful community engagement.