Lessons from an immigrant-focused community COVID-19 vaccination organization

May 20 2022

From an article in Health Affairs Forefront written by SVEP members:

“In contrast to traditional health promotion approaches based on communications from outside experts, our community organizing model draws on the unique talents and connections of our members. Somali outreach is led by a Somali American pharmacy owner with deep connections to the community and is aided by an experienced Somali American civil rights organizer; Oromo outreach is led by an Oromo American epidemiology graduate student whose family are longtime members of the Oromo mosque. Beyond these core group members, additional outreach work has been done by mosque leaders, the local youth soccer coach, and a union organizer living in the Section 8 housing towers. These organizers and others we rely on for outreach all live in, work in, or otherwise have deep ties to the neighborhood. In addition, several of our other core members had prior experience with community, political, or union organizing, and one had professional connections that facilitated health systems being willing to take a chance on us before we had established a track record of successful events.”