City of Memphis Fire Services Awarded 3.9 million to Fight COVID-19 and Improve Health Literacy Among Racial and Ethnic Minority and Vulnerable Communities
Memphis, TN – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) has announced an award of 3.9 million to City of Memphis Fire Services as a part of a $250 million two-year initiative to identify and implement best practices for improving health literacy to enhance COVID-19 vaccination and other mitigation practices among underserved populations. The Advancing Health Literacy (AHL) to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19 initiative is part of the Biden/Harris Administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.
“Since March of 2020, our team has worked day and night to protect our community from COVID-19,” stated Mayor Jim Strickland. “With this new funding, it will enable us to do even more by continuing to reach out to our most vulnerable populations.”
Over the next two years, Memphis Fire Services will work with local community-based organizations to develop a health literacy plan to increase the availability, acceptability, and use of COVID-19 public health information and services by racial and ethnic minority populations.
“This grant will help our Healthcare Navigators focus on our most vulnerable populations and provide them with COVID-19 public health information,” stated Chief Gina Sweat. “We hope this will address the issue of vaccine hesitancy by reaching deeper into all communities.”
In partnership with LeMoyne-Owen College (LOC), University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and other agencies, Memphis Fire Services will work to increase education among minority populations as it relates to COVID-19. This includes testing, contact tracing, and vaccination or other protective measures. The program will also provide current and prospective community health workers training to increase health literacy within the target population.
For more information about OMH, visit minorityhealth.hhs.gov or memphistn.gov