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  • Health Department awarded $4 million to enhance equitable response to COVID-19 health literacy

    Jul 06, 2021 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday accepted an award of $4,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) for the Pima County Health Department as a part of a national two-year initiative to identify and implement best practices for improving health literacy to enhance COVID-19 vaccination and other mitigation practices among underserved populations.
    outside of abrams public health building

    “The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on disparities in health literacy within our community,” said Dr. Theresa Cullen, Health Department director. “It is important to address and remedy this and empower people to understand their own health, the health of their loved ones, and the overall health of our community.”

    Health literacy is a person’s ability to find, understand and use information and services to help them make health-related decisions for themselves and others. Health literacy is a central focus of the Healthy People 2030 blueprint for improving the health of the nation, which is sponsored by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

    Healthy People 2030 has elevated health literacy within one of its overarching goals: Eliminate health disparities, achieve health equity, and attain health literacy to improve the health and well-being of all.

    “The Advancing Health Literacy initiative is a vital part of the HHS efforts to help communities hardest hit by the pandemic access and understand COVID-related information,” said Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Rachel L. Levine, M.D. “This funding, and the partnerships with local and community entities across the country, will help our national efforts to continue to tackle health disparities surrounding COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment.”

    Over the next two years, the Health Department will work with local community-based organizations to develop a health literacy plan to increase the availability, acceptability, and use of COVID-19 public health information and services by racial and ethnic minority populations. The projects will also focus on other populations considered vulnerable for not receiving and using COVID-19 public health information.

    The Health Department will leverage local data to identify racial and ethnic minority populations at the highest risk for health disparities and low health literacy, as well as populations not currently reached through existing public health campaigns. Through significant engagement with these groups, the Department and the grant partners will seek to understand their behaviors and decision-making processes and recommend best practices for public health entities and healthcare providers when giving health information.

    For more information about OMH, visit minorityhealth.hhs.gov.