ADHS-CDC COVID Disparities Initiative
National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities
The Arizona Center for Rural Health received a two-year, $8 million award as part of the Arizona Department of Health Services ADHS-CDC National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Disparities among Populations at High Risk & Underserved, Including Racial & Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities.
The AzCRH has long track record of innovative collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services via federal subawards and interagency service agreements. In the ADHS-CDC initiative, the focus is on populations and communities disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Center will work closely with ADHS in conjunction with rural public health departments, the state’s rural and Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, rural Community Health Centers and other rural health providers and stakeholders, including tribal operated and IHS providers, and community health workers / representatives (CHW/Rs).
AzCRH will focus on two CDC-ADHS COVID-19 Disparities Initiative’s overarching strategies:
- Expand existing and/or develop new mitigation and prevention resources and services to reduce COVID-19 related disparities among populations at higher risk and underserved.
- Mobilize partners to advance health equity & address social determinants of health related to COVID-19 health disparities among higher risk and underserved populations.
AzCRH will collaborate with the Mobile Outreach Vaccination and Education for Underserved Populations (MOVE UP) Program (lead: Dr. Cecilia Rosales), the MAT Mentors Information Referral Network (lead: Dr. Ben Brady, Alyssa Padilla MPH) and rural partners to improve access to testing, vaccination, mitigation and public health issues exacerbated by the pandemic (i.e., suicides, opioid overdose deaths) and access to wrap around social services in rural communities.
CDC-ADHS funding will support targeted multimodal messaging on COVID-19 prevention, vaccination, treatment and follow up (lead: Dr. Nirav Merchant). The Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) platform will allow development and delivery of regular, interactive synchronous COVID-19 information targeted for specific audiences including the lay public, health providers, public health personnel and others, and asynchronous education and information that individuals can access at any time. Rural health providers can be overwhelmed by rapidly evolving COVID health information and recommendations. A component to this strategy is to create rapid response brief messaging, zoom and telehealth support from experts and specialists in Pulmonary, Infectious Disease and Allergy-Immunology (lead: Dr. Sai Parthasarathy).
AzCRH will develop education and training resources and toolkits to increase knowledge and awareness among the rural public health system partners and translate lessons learned from the pandemic to address social determinants of health and improve health outcomes.
AzCRH will collaborate with ADHS, serve on their Arizona Health Improvement Plan Pandemic Recovery and Resilience initiative, and work with local stakeholders and partners to develop community public health capacity through a Champions Program that engages local thought leaders on issues relevant to public health. This program will aim to enhance understanding and literacy of the public health system and build knowledgeable leaders who can serve on local community advisory councils and committees.
In May 2021, ADHS received a two-year, $34.6 million award for the CDC COVID-19 Disparities initiative. In addition to working with AzCRH, ADHS will partner with tribal serving organizations, nine rural county health departments, the Arizona Community Health Workers Association and others. Maricopa ($26.5M) and Pima Counties ($6.5M) received separate CDC awards.