The Shelby County Health Department in Memphis Tennessee serves a metropolitan county including a diverse population with pockets of severe poverty. The county?s population is 52% Black, 40% White, 6% Latinx and the remainder of the population is Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander by demographics. Approximately 13% of families and 16% of people live below the poverty line. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certain communities and demographic populations have experienced a disproportionately high burden of disease, hospitalization and death. There are nine zip codes that in particular have the highest case rates in the county, overall, and the lowest vaccination rates. By virtue of having more disease and less coverage by vaccination campaign penetration, these zip codes in western and southern Shelby County have been identified as underserved areas.To improve testing, contact tracing and vaccination efforts in the targeted area, Shelby County Health Department proposes to create a coalition of community partners made up of organizations and institutions working to improve health and socio-economic status for the people living in the underserved communities; fund focus group and other research efforts by the University of Memphis School of Public Health examining knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and opinions about COVID disease and COVID vaccine; work with Leadership Memphis (a local organization with extensive media campaign/partner mobilization experience focused in the area of community change) to develop messages that raise awareness and improve acceptance of COVID vaccine; and hire 6 Public Health Outreach Specialists to work in the community to disseminate messages and network in the community. The intent is to gather advice and feedback from the community through the coalition, and also share research findings with the community through the coalition partners, with all of that work process informing the outreach work. A data analyst will
track key metrics concerning the campaign during two years to evaluate effectiveness and outcomes.