Documented disparities related to COVID-19 in Lincoln, Nebraska call for a range of inclusive, health literate communication strategies targeting racial and ethnic minorities, including immigrants and refugees. This project will be led by the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and will reach approximately 80% of the minority population of Lincoln, Nebraska. It will leverage a robust and formal collaboration between the city?s six major cultural centers and the existing health literacy expertise and capacity at a local nonprofit to build local infrastructure for the public health system to more rapidly create accurate, health literate, culturally and linguistically appropriate, messaging WITH communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The project is a partnership between the LLCHD, the Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD) and the Cultural Centers of Lincoln (CCL). NALHD will hire four new Health Literacy Associates (HLAs) who are bilingual/bicultural and recruited from the targeted communities. HLAs will liaison between NALHD, LLCHD, and the CCL for collaborative prioritization and communication development related to COVID-19 mitigation. CCL member organizations will coordinate weekly opportunities for their clients to provide input on COVID-19 related messages. The HLAs will work with other health literacy and design staff at NALHD to develop assets and coordinate dissemination plans and strategies with the other partners. NALHD will also coordinate training and technical assistance in organizational health literacy for CCL staff and for the targeted communities? public health and healthcare providers. The external evaluation partner at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) will bring together a team to work with quality improvement and epidemiology staff at LLCHD to determine whether this project reached the specific target populations and whether there was an
y change related to the rates of COVID-19 testing, contact tracing participation, and vaccination among target populations. The evaluation team will also consider the extent to which the project consistently implements health literacy best practice and promotes/adheres to the National CLAS Standards. Because of their expertise in these content areas, the evaluators will be able to provide substantive ideas for program improvement.The outcomes the City of Lincoln is seeking with this project are: 1) Establish a team of culturally and linguistically diverse communication experts working in coordination across the local public health system and ready for rapid action in response to quickly changing health communication needs. 2) Sustainable health literacy practices incorporated into programs and policies of Lincoln?s cultural centers, public health agencies, and healthcare provider organizations. 3) Increased rates of COVID-19 testing, contact tracing participation, and vaccination among target populations. These outcomes will advance the Healthy People 2030 objectives HC/HIT 1-3 by training consumers and providers in health literacy best practices and developing communication resources that are timely and support patients? ability to understand actions needed to protect their health. These outcomes will make Lincoln a more equitable city for all residents.