Academic Center Partnership with Health Department and Church to Rapidly Deploy COVID-19 Vaccine POD Reaching Underserved Populations
Keywords:COVID-19, vaccine equity, integrative health, community engagement, interprofessional education, vaccine point of dispensing (POD), community-academic partnership, academic health department
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color, underscoring the importance of equity in the public health response. The Duquesne University Center for Integrative Health (DUCIH) is a university-wide center focused on training future practitioners and improving health equity in the Pittsburgh region. DUCIH’s initial pandemic response included a virtual adaptation of community health programs and supporting partners’ testing and vaccination efforts. In March 2021, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) asked DUCIH to establish a vaccine Point of Dispensing (POD) at Central Baptist Church in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, to reach underrepresented populations. DUCIH engaged the Schools of Health Sciences, Nursing, and Pharmacy and multiple university offices to recruit an interprofessional team of 263 volunteers. From March to June 2021, the POD administered 5,652 vaccines in an underserved neighborhood, with a majority of doses administered to people of color, meeting the POD’s aim. This university-church partnership has continued with vaccine clinics and health screenings. This case study shares lessons for rapid response to public health emergencies through university-wide collaboration with community partners. Universities with health science schools should cultivate relationships with local health departments to promote awareness of these capabilities.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Gale Garmong, Bridget Calhoun, Alison Colbert, Victor Grigsby, Jessica Mann, Annie Nagy, Brittani Namey, Mary Parish, Jennifer Padden Elliott
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