Boosting the Community
OneWorld outreach team uses connection to combat health disparities in minority communities
For racial and ethnic minority communities, access to health care continues to be a barrier. Widening health disparities are negatively affecting the health of many people in the United States. The Covid-19 pandemic added another layer of inequality, and consequently, minority communities have been disproportionately affected.
National Minority Health Month is observed annually in April to highlight the importance of reducing health disparities in minority communities. This year’s theme, give your community a boost, focuses on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in minority communities through Covid-19 vaccinations, including booster shots.
Covid-19 challenged the health field to think of new ways to educate the community and provide health care safely. OneWorld Community Health Center’s outreach team took on the challenge and turned it into an opportunity to connect with the south Omaha community in a new, personal way.
“We have had the opportunity to collaborate with multiple organizations to provide Covid-19 vaccines and education, including the Mexican Consulate in Omaha, Stephen’s Center, Together Inc., Latino Center of the Midlands, Learning Community Center, Juan Diego Center, meat packing plants and many more,” said Ximena Barrera, BSN, RN, Minority Health Immunization Registered Nurse.
Since Jan. 1, 2022, the outreach team has administered over 600 Covid-19 vaccines, including 115 first doses, demonstrating the positive impact the outreach team has made through their efforts to address community needs and barriers.
In addition to the outreach vaccination events, the outreach team offers home visits to administer Covid-19 vaccines and provide education. During these visits, the team gets to know each patient, and oftentimes, the team uncovers other areas of need.
“We assess every individual’s social determinants of health while in their homes and connect them to the most adequate resources within and outside of OneWorld,” said Jessica Garcia Lara, Community Health Worker.
The outreach team has connected individuals to OneWorld resources and other community resources to address food insecurities, financial insecurities, lack of insurance, transportation barriers and more.
Throughout the pandemic, misinformation has fueled mistrust of the health care system, especially among racial and ethnic minority groups. While vaccination is the strongest method of protection, the OneWorld outreach team recognizes education as a victory as well.
“We respectfully acknowledge the doubts and misconceptions people have about Covid-19 and the vaccine,” said Ximena. “We help them dissipate those questions and doubts by using credible resources, and we always encourage people to get vaccinated not only for their own health, but for their loved ones.”
The OneWorld outreach team offers services in English and Spanish which helps build trust with the south Omaha community.
“Many of us grew up in south Omaha so we understand the language barriers and access barriers,” said Jessica. “Our experiences and cultural awareness help us bond with every individual we speak with, and motivates us to reach from within our own hearts to make sure our community receives the care they need.”
At OneWorld, We Care for All People.