Franklin County Public Health and Partners Awarded Multi-Million Dollar Health Literacy Grant to Fight COVID-19 Among Racial and Ethnic Minority and Vulnerable Communities
Franklin County Public Health, in collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Columbus Public Health, was awarded a two-year federally-funded $3.99 million health literacy grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The primary goal of the project is to reduce Franklin County COVID-related health disparities and improve health outcomes among racial and ethnic minorities, through planning and implementation of a community health literacy plan.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic many of our residents have not had the opportunity to receive public health information in a way that is most helpful to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Joe Mazzola, Franklin County Health Commissioner. “This grant gives us the opportunity to expand our health literacy efforts to reduce COVID-related disparities within racial and ethnic minority populations and other vulnerable communities.”
The plan will be developed through a collaborative process with nearly 20 committed community-based organization and health partners, including public health, community health centers (FQHCs), hospitals, and social service and community health worker organizations serving racial and ethnic minorities and New Americans.
“Working with our partners to build a health literate community—one that equitably enables individuals to find, understand, and use health information and services—is a vital step in ensuring everyone, especially those most vulnerable, can use understandable, meaningful information to guide their COVID-related health decisions and protect their own and their loved ones’ health. Down the road, this valuable work can be applied to other health issues too.” said Dr. Mary Ann Abrams, pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The diverse partners will work together to enhance existing and future community COVID-19 messaging to strengthen people’s ability to find, understand, and use information and services to help them make the best health-related decisions for themselves and others.
“Providing accurate and timely information on COVID-19 is important, especially for communities most at risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Health Commissioner. “Together, we will work to address some of the disparities that exist so that we can protect and improve the health outcomes of black and brown communities.”
Organizational health literacy expertise will be fostered using a train-the trainer model, creating a sustainable infrastructure supported by tailored health literacy knowledge and skills development and supporting resources. The work will start immediately.