Health Center Stories

HRSA-funded health centers across the nation have distinguished themselves in promoting public health and providing primary care services in underserved areas. The examples below provide a snapshot of the exemplary work health centers have accomplished across the country.

Interested in sharing your health center’s story? Email HRSA Health Center Stories to submit your story for possible promotion on this website, in a HRSA newsletter, or on HRSA social media. If sharing a photo, please include a high-resolution image and a HRSA Photo Release Form HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer for each person featured.

Feature Story: Boosting COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among Adolescents

Cherry Health (Grand Rapids, MI) has proactively promoted COVID-19 vaccinations for adolescents and continues to increase their reach. To date, Cherry Health has administered at least one COVID-19 shot to more than 1,400 adolescents, aged 12 to 17.

Read more about their work HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer.

Topics

Vaccines and Immunizations | COVID-19 Response Efforts | Telehealth | Community Outreach | Health Center Staff

Vaccines and Immunizations

Piedmont Health Services, Inc. HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer operates eight locations serving 14 counties in North Carolina. Piedmont Health began administering COVID-19 vaccines in mid-January. As of mid-April, they have administered 20,492 vaccine doses to 12,949 individuals. The health center received these vaccines both through their participation in the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program and through North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine provider program.

Piedmont Health is working to ensure equity in vaccine distribution; 27% of those they have vaccinated identify as Black/African American and 21% identify as Hispanic. To advance outreach to Spanish-speaking patients, they partnered with the Alamance County Health Department, the Blessed Sacrament Church and Community, and other community partners to offer a free online event in Spanish HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer. Presenters answered questions about vaccines and offered guidance on making vaccine appointments.

Earlier this year, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen visited the Chatham County location to highlight Piedmont Health’s important work. During the visit, Secretary Cohen stated: “Community health centers are the lifeline to health care for thousands of rural and underserved communities. They’ve been frontline partners in providing testing throughout the pandemic, and are an important part of the state’s strategy to ensure marginalized residents have access to COVID-19 vaccines.” Read more.

COVID-19 Response Efforts (e.g. Treatment, Testing, and Contact Tracing)

Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center, Inc. HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer (TVHC) (Union City, CA) has advanced contact tracing efforts through recruitment of bilingual staff. TVHC primarily serves Spanish speakers across Alameda County. In late May, just before COVID-19 cases surged in the region, county officials turned to the state for help building their team of bilingual contact tracers—but the availability was limited. Responding to the need, TVHC Spanish-speaking clinicians and staff took contact tracing into their own hands, calling relatives and other families in multigenerational households of positive patients when they realized patients might not otherwise participate in the state’s contact tracing efforts.

According to TVHC Chief Executive Officer Andrea Schwab-Galindo HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer, many patients and families were afraid to allow county-run testing sites to perform contact tracing because of the requirement to provide personal information. However, community members trusted TVHC staff to safeguard their personal information and were willing to work with their contact tracing staff. Since August, TVHC has reached 487 cases and 416 contacts. They have also provided health education and resources for successful isolation and quarantine to these individuals. The Mercury News also profiled TVHC’s contact tracing efforts HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer.

Telehealth

Thanks to its HRSA funding, Miami Beach Community Health Center HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer (MBCHC) has been instrumental in helping Miami, FL, respond to the pandemic. From the start, MBCHC transitioned quickly to protect their patients, moving from in-person visits to telehealth for non-essential patient visits. Nearly 40% of patient visits are now conducted through telehealth. HRSA funding also allowed MBCHC’s patients to obtain their prescription medications through a delivery service, rather than picking them up in-person at the health center. During a four-month period early in the pandemic, 838 patients had their prescriptions delivered.

As demand for testing increased, HRSA’s funding enabled MBCHC to hire additional staff for testing and educational outreach. MBCHC conducts drive-up and walk-up testing at all three of their locations, and tests 100 to 150 patients daily. As of Thursday, January 28, they had tested 20,613 patients. The COVID-19 positivity rate among their patients is nearly 16%, which is significantly higher than the positivity rate reported for the state, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Most recently, they began distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. MBCHC received the Moderna vaccine in early January and has since administered 900 first doses, at no cost, to health care workers with direct patient contact and people age 65 and older. They sent a mass text message communication to eligible patients informing them of the availability of the vaccine and describing how to make an appointment. They received another allotment of 900 doses last week.

Community Outreach

Focusing on equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, Herald Christian Health Center HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer (HCHC, in Los Angeles County, CA) has launched multiple successful strategies to reach seniors and others who cannot register online or visit large vaccination sites due to language, technology, or transportation barriers.

The center set up a bilingual call center and recruited over 100 volunteers to help people register by phone. In partnership with five cities and five school districts, HCHC has vaccinated seniors, school staff, and other residents in community centers, high schools, and public parks via drive-through and walk-up models.

As of Monday, June 7, HCHC had administered more than 32,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses, with more than 25,000 doses administered to Asian patients. Read more about their program.

Health Center Staff

OneWorld Community Health Centers' HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer (Omaha, NE) staff have stepped up to the front line to address COVID-19 through testing, administering vaccinations, and providing thorough follow-up care for their patients. As one staff member shares, “In terms of [public health], I have done more in this pandemic than I have done in my entire career.”

In response to COVID-19, OneWorld hired new teams for triage, lab notification, and screening. These COVID-19 service teams provide two weeks of follow-up care for patients who test positive, including help with food and housing.

To increase vaccinations, OneWorld has a promotora/Community Health Worker team that includes a Spanish-language translator. They hit the streets in late July of 2021 with vaccines in a special cooler so they could administer shots on the spot.

Participating in the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program has greatly strengthened the impact of OneWorld’s outreach efforts. As of early August, OneWorld had administered almost 40,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Chief Executive Officer Andrea Skolkin shares that “having access to order vaccines has helped turn the tidal wave of disparity.” Read more HRSA BPHC exit disclaimer about OneWorld’s door-to-door vaccine effort.

 

Date Last Reviewed:  December 2021