Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), under the direction of Anna Roth, RN, MS, MPH, has developed an innovative outreach strategy aimed at ramping up COVID-19 vaccines across the county. As part of the outreach strategy, Director Roth and her team created a program where individuals who are trained as “community ambassadors” are deployed across three divisions of the county (East, Central, West) and focus on hard-to-reach communities, registering residents for vaccines. Ambassadors in the three divisions are supervised on a day-to-day basis by three project coordinators who report to the program manager, Ernesto De La Torre, MS.
East Contra Costa County has had a number of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with communities like Bay Point disproportionately affected. This reality has clearly not been lost to CCHS since the East County ambassadors, led by their coordinator Nicola Ifill-Fraser, Ed.D., MPH, have been actively engaged with both the District 5 and District 3 supervisors’ offices.
On Wednesday, April 21, Supervisor Glover and his staff visited one of the vaccination clinics hosted by Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Pittsburg. Pastor Maurice Bates had been working closely with CCHS Assistant Director and Chief Equity Officer, Gilbert Salinas, MPA, to bring the on-site vaccine clinic to fruition. However, as Pastor Bates reported, the groundwork of Dr. Ifill-Fraser’s East County ambassador team and volunteers from Mt. Zion Baptist Church, was critical to engaging community members and signing them up for the vaccines. They knocked on doors. They stood in parking lots. They did what was necessary to get the vaccines into arms.