COVID-19 Community Education Initiative

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the need for trusted resources of health information, especially during a health crisis. 

The Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey is a regional grantee of the NJ Department of Health’s  Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities (CCR) grant.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted NJ’s most vulnerable populations throughout Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties. The purpose of the grant is to support and strengthen community members that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. This work will be accomplished through the engagement and deployment of CHWs and Innovative Community Programing to address priority populations social determinants of health needs. CHWs will support community members by educating them on COVID-19 risks and mitigation strategies, connecting individuals to COVID-19 resources and other social supports, and providing ongoing case management. 

The Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey (PMCH) has funded community-based organizations (CBOs) as subgrantees, to build capacity and provide outreach and coordination to NJDOH’s identified priority populations. CBO partners will work with PMCH to respond to the needs of priority populations utilizing Community Health Workers and community programming. CBOs will engage and deploy CHWs and integrate CHWs into community settings and community planning to address the social determinants of health needs of priority populations, which include but not limited to, housing and shelter, food insecurity, WIC, childcare and parenting, healthcare, mental health and addictions, employment and income, clothing and household, childcare and parenting, government, and legal services. The funding provided through these mini grants will be used to complement and enhance, not duplicate, existing public health initiatives serving priority populations.  

This work will be prioritized under the Colette Lamothe-Galette Community Health Worker (CLG-CHW) Institute as it seeks to enhance the COVID-19 related knowledge, training and work performance of community health workers statewide. This work will be accomplished through the engagement and deployment of CHWs and Innovative Community Programing to address priority populations social determinants of health needs. CHWs will support community members by educating them on COVID-19 risks and mitigation strategies, connecting individuals to COVID-19 resources and other social supports, and providing ongoing case management. These strategies are to facilitate and build community resilience. 

Community Health Worker will be trained, deployed, and engaged to combat the ill effects of COVID-19 in prioritized populations. In partnership with regional teams, CBO partners will participate in training programs, deployment, and engagement strategies to build community resilience by way of support. Community Health Workers will identify gaps in community support, work with CBO in community planning, provide resource navigation for priority populations (i.e., underserved, and racial and ethnic minority groups).   

In addition to focusing on COVID-19, the deployment plans will also include areas of focus outside of the prevention of COVID-19 such as SDOH needs. The CBO will lead engagement strategies for deploying CHWs into high need areas within the CBO community. CBO should identify their priority populations (e.g., housing and shelter, food insecurity, WIC, childcare and parenting, healthcare, mental health and addictions, employment and income, clothing and household, childcare and parenting, government, and legal services) and strategies to address priority populations needs. CHWs should be integrated into the planning and implementation of deployment strategies. The CBO is responsible for documenting all attended events and the priority population that have received assistance. This funding opportunity will support Community Based Organizations’ (CBOs) in providing community programs and CHW support.  

Community health workers are well poised to support “Community Health Workers for COVID- Response and Resilient Communities (CCR)” activities as part of the COVID-19 response, in the ways listed below. Community Health Workers must have a flexible work schedule and may be required to work evenings and weekends, physically and virtually, in community settings. Community Health Workers (CHWs) will be required to track and document client referrals that address COVID-19 in vulnerable. 

CBO Key Priorities 

  1. Increase utilization of community and government resources in NJDOH’s priority population to combat the ill effects of COVID-19, e.g., housing, food support, employment, legal. 
  2. Utilize CHWs to address the social determinants of health needs of NJ’s priority populations 
  3. Integrate the CHW workforce into community program planning and implementation to support public health initiatives serving priority populations. 
  4. Coordinate and/or promote opportunities, such as messaging/education within communities and facilitate the engagement of CHWs in addressing the needs of those at highest risk for poor health outcomes, including those most impacted from COVID-19 
  5. Develop, cultivate, and/or strengthen community-based partnerships to reach NJ’s priority populations. 

In Memoriam: Colette Lamothe-Galette

The Colette Lamothe-Galette Community Health Worker Institute was established by New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), Division of Family Health Services in May 2020 to honor the memory of Colette Lamothe-Galette who was a public health champion and hero, and one of NJ’s finest public health leaders, known to all in the public health community for dedicating her life’s work to eliminating health disparities and addressing health equity.  Sadly, New Jersey lost Colette to complications of COVID-19 in April 2020.  The Institute has established an apprenticeship training program for community health workers, critical personnel and allies needed on the front lines of COVID-19 response. 

These community health workers are well poised to support the CCR Grant activities as part of the COVID-19 response, in the ways listed below. 

Key Priorities 

  • Increase utilization of community and government resources in NJDOH’s priority population to combat the ill effects of COVID-19, e.g., housing, food support, employment, legal. 
  • Utilize CHWs to address the social determinants of health needs of NJ’s priority populations 
  • Integrate the CHW workforce into community program planning and implementation to support public health initiatives serving priority populations. 
  • Develop, cultivate, and/or strengthen community-based partnerships to reach NJ’s priority populations.  

We are pleased to work with the following subgrantee community-based organizations who are providing services in the areas listed below. 

  • Centro Comunitario CEUS – Union City, Hudson County 
  • Ironbound Community Center – Ironbound – Newark, Essex County 
  • Jefferson Park Ministries, Inc. – Elizabeth, Union County 
  • New Destiny Family Success Centers, Inc.- Paterson, Passaic County 
  • South Ward Promise Neighborhood – Newark, Essex County 

If you would like more information about this program, please contact Mayra Ramirez, Director of Strategic Special Initiatives at mramirez@pmch.org 

Getting Involved

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