Friday, January 14, 2022

Houston Nonprofit Tackles COVID-19 Racial Disparities with Culturally Comprehensive Health and Wellness Training
(Houston, TX) – On January 17, 2022, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision and mission of equity, Día de la Mujer Latina (DML) and the Intercultural Center for Health, Research Wellness will launch the Vaccination Community Navigator Certificate Program to train community members, specifically Community Health Workers, in developing the capacity building skills needed to address the lingering health concerns, among communities of color, regarding COVID-19 virus and the vaccines to combat the virus. This training program was created in partnership with the national nonprofit organization Vaccinate Your Family (VYF) and approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services, to empower Promotores and Community Health Workers (P/CHWs) with a culturally and linguistically tailored certification course. “With rapidly increasing COVID 19 case rates, declining vaccination rates, and millions yet to be vaccinated, we must confront the systemic barriers in place, such as mistrust and accessibility issues, that are keeping our communities from getting vaccinated” stated Venus Ginés, DML’s President/Founder. This culturally and linguistically tailored educational training program is just one way that this team will bridge that gap and empower trusted messengers with the skills they need to tackle these issues. As frontline public health workers, P/CHWs are especially well positioned to build vaccine confidence in their communities and reduce vaccine disparities. Given the fact that P/CHWs often come from the same communities they serve, P/CHWs are better able to understand the needs, values, and challenges within these communities. This allows them to serve as a bridge between their communities and public health and medical services––particularly in areas where trust in medical institutions is low and barriers to accessing those services are substantial. Many P/CHWs have become their communities’ go-to source for information on health-related issues, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. VYF is grateful to be partnering with DML on this life-saving mission” stated Amy Pisani, CEO, Vaccinate Your Family. “It has become startlingly clear that trusted messengers are the key to combatting disinformation about life-saving vaccines and guiding community members to the services they deserve. While our partnership with DML only came to be during the pandemic, our shared vision of equity and inclusion will make for lasting change that will carve a path for communities towards the life-saving vaccines in Houston and across the nation.”

For 25 years, DML’s mission continues to focus on bringing health screenings for early detection of cancer and other chronic and infectious diseases nationally via its signature health fiestas. When a pandemic looked imminent in February 2020, DML moved quickly to train P/CHWs on dispelling myths and rumors about COVID 19, provide Behavior Community Health Navigation, and implemented a Telehealth Community Navigator Center as a medium to prepare, protect, and navigate their communities against the virus and more importantly misinformation.


Día de la Mujer Latina is a Latino community-based organization in Houston, Texas. DML’s mission is to promote healthy behaviors within the underserved Latino community by offering a culturally and linguistically proficient education and Patient Navigation for follow-up services, facilitating early detection health screenings, providing culturally preventative care interventions and training programs for Promotores / Community Health Workers, promoting wellness and navigation with resource information.


Vaccinate Your Family was founded thirty years ago by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Former First Lady of Arkansas Betty Bumpers. VYF strives to protect people of all ages from vaccine preventable diseases by: raising awareness of the critical need for timely immunizations; increasing the public’s understanding of the benefits of vaccines; increasing confidence in the safety of vaccines; ensuring that all families have access to lifesaving vaccines; and, advocating for policies that support timely vaccination.