State funds community-based program to ensure COVID-19 information gets to hard-to-reach communities

April 18– In an effort to make sure all Washingtonians have the information they need to stay healthy, the state is funding a $500,000 community-based outreach campaign. Community-rooted organizations will provide emergency language and outreach services to groups disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but less likely to be receiving timely information through government agencies and traditional news media.

“It’s crucial for every Washingtonian to understand how to stay healthy, stop the spread of COVID-19 and find resources to help them during this difficult time,” said Washington State Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “By engaging trusted members and leaders of our state’s diverse communities to develop and share that information effectively, we’ll be much better able to fight this pandemic together.”

The state Department of Health has made information available in at least 26 languages and strives to ensure educational materials are appropriate for many cultures. However, community-rooted efforts led by trusted messengers are often the most effective in communicating critical health information.

Some groups may be affected by COVID-19 more than others due to the disease’s health impacts, systemic health care inequities or an individual’s living situation or increased risk of exposure. These groups may need information provided in different formats or languages than what many media outlets and government agencies provide. 

Successful applicants are to use the state funding to offer culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate information, education, and outreach about COVID-19 to diverse communities affected by the disease. 

Community-rooted organizations, small businesses, and tribal governments interested in applying can download an information sheet or email DOH-CETF@doh.wa.gov for more information. Applications are due May 3, but the department will begin reviewing them April 27. Because of the urgent need, applying by April 26 is encouraged. Contracts will run through July 31, 2020. Individual awards will vary and could be up to $30,000.

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