American Rescue Plan funding supporting local efforts in underserved communities
Congressman Brian Higgins announced an American Rescue Plan grant totaling $658,677 was awarded to Jericho Road Community Health Center through the Department of Health and Human Services. The grant works to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in underserved communities in Western New York. Jericho Road will “serve as a trusted voice in the Western New York Community to assist individuals in making informed health care decisions about the COVID-19 vaccine,” Higgins’ camp stated.
Dr. Myron Glick, Jericho Road's founder and CEO, said, “We are incredibly grateful for this funding, which will allow us to hire and train staff who will personally connect with our neighbors, especially those in high-risk communities, and help calm fears and build trust in the COVID vaccines. This is a huge opportunity for Jericho Road to not only educate on and encourage vaccination, but also really build individual relationships and tangibly invest in the overall health and wellbeing of families on Buffalo’s west and east sides. We are grateful to Congressman Higgins for being our ally and advocate.”
According the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS), 64.5% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 57.9% are fully vaccinated. However, less than 50% of people living in several ZIP codes in the City of Buffalo have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including: 14208, 14215, 14210, 14204, 14207, 14206 and 14212.
“Jericho Road has a track record as a trusted provider of quality health care with locations that maximize outreach opportunities among hard-to-reach communities,” Higgins said. “COVID-19 vaccines are scientifically proven to be highly effective in protecting against the disease. The best way to protect ourselves and our communities is to get vaccinated. These federal resources approved as part of the American Rescue Plan support Jericho Road’s efforts to communicate and educate on the importance of the vaccine.”
Through the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration recently released $121 million to support community-based efforts to increase vaccination rates in underserved communities. The awards establish, expand and sustain community-based efforts to mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, patient navigators, social support specialists, and others working with minority populations. Recipients will engage with regional and local partners, including faith-based organizations, regional and local health departments, health centers and other community-based providers, and minority-serving institutions to reach underserved and high-risk communities.
A press release explained, “The investment is part of the administration’s commitment to supporting and empowering trusted messengers in communities that work to encourage vaccinations, protect more people, and save lives.”
Jericho Road Community Health Center provides health care for families with limited access to medical care, such as those living in poverty, refugees and immigrants, at its five clinics in the City of Buffalo. Nationwide studies show community-based participatory programs increase vaccine compliance. The grant will allow Jericho Road to utilize community health care workers (CHWs) and community contractors to conduct outreach in high-risk communities with low vaccination rates.
Higgins’ team said, “Their holistic approach will focus on COVID-19 vaccination education and encouragement, as well as overall community health. Working with families from their own communities, CHWs will build trust among households, identify areas of need, work with partners to schedule appointments, get patients vaccinated, and improve overall health outcomes. Vaccination incentives that support a healthy lifestyle (like free food boxes and medically-oriented gym memberships) will be implemented as part of the program.”
Jericho Road Community Health Center is online at https://www.jrchc.org/.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine locations across Western New York, visit www.vaccines.gov.