Family Voices is pleased to announce a new grant-funded partnership with the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Family Voices’ $1 million award will support the development of outreach activities in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, working in tandem with the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers in those states; funds will also be used to promote family education efforts nationwide.

Funded for $7,787,892, the Family COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Project is one of 14 awards to nonprofit private or public organizations focused on reaching out to underserved communities in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Freely Associated States. Funds are targeted at developing and supporting a community-based workforce that will engage in locally tailored efforts to build vaccine confidence and bolster COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities. The Family COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Project partners include the AME Zion Church; the NAACP; and the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, among others. Family Voices efforts will focus on providing vaccination support to children and youth with special health care needs and their families, especially those for whom vaccination access has been challenged by chronic health care disparities. “We are extremely excited to extend the power of our family-to-family approach to this critical effort in preserving the future of the public’s health, especially at this precarious time when COVID19 rates are on the rise again,” noted Nora Wells, Executive Director of Family Voices. “We’re privileged to support the Family-to Family Health Information Center efforts of our colleagues at Parents’ Place of Maryland; the Center for Family Involvement in Virginia; and Delaware Family Voices.”

These awards reflect the first of two funding opportunities announced by President Biden last month for community-based efforts to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to increase vaccine access for the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities through high-touch, on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about COVID vaccinations.

“Trusted messengers play an essential role in sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines, answering questions, and ultimately convincing people to get vaccinated,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “This funding will support national, regional, and local organizations that will work directly with hard-hit, underserved, and high-risk communities to help bolster COVID-19 vaccination rates.”