San Diego Refugee Coalition Communities (SDRCC) members believe it is imperative that promotion and delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations be informed by an understanding of factors that influence the decisions of communities that are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic – including refugee communities. As part of this effort, the SDRCC has recruited a team of Community Health Workers (CHWs) who are considered front-line trusted messengers and service providers who can effectively communicate to their communities to deliver important information in relevant ways and in their communities’ primary languages.
SDRCC joined the Refugee Communities COVID-19 Communication and Health Outreach Initiative of the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency in September 2020. SDRCC members are providing contracted outreach and education services to refugee communities within the region through a team of 18 CHWs. The contract was recently extended through July 2021.
The lead for this work is the United Women of East Africa Support Team, supported by SDRCC members such as:
Haitian Bridge Alliance
Karen Organization of San Diego
License to Freedom
Refugee Assistance Center
Somali Bantu Community of San Diego
Southern Sudanese Community Center of San Diego
Coordination and technical assistance are provided by UC San Diego Refugee Health Unit and Nash & Associates. The CHWs are a peer-based workforce who are members of the communities they serve. One of the roles that they play is to serve as a bridge between their communities and systems and organizations. During weekly peer-focused training and support meetings several CHWs shared that they were receiving questions regarding COVID-19 vaccinations that they were not well equipped to answer and that members of the community were voicing concerns.