Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are trusted members in the community and are well-equipped to address the unique needs of their populations by providing culturally responsive interventions and campaigns. As such, they have played an integral role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Hawai‘i, they provide essential education and resources to underserved and hard to reach communities. Many of these communities include racial and ethnic minorities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos experience the highest rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths relative to their population size in the state. They experience systemic inequities that contribute to health disparities that then drive the COVID-19 disparities we’ve observed. In response to this, FQHCs and many local CBOs have expanded their efforts to ensure their communities are not only vaccinated but also up to date and educated on the latest COVID-19 news and messaging. Many have developed educational materials in the languages and dialects of their community members and utilize various forms of media to effectively reach their target audience. They organize and participate in community events that are attended by many local families where they deliver important COVID-19 messaging using methods they know are effective to their community.
To continue the important service that CBOs and FQHCs provide, 11 CBOs and seven FQHCs have been awarded funds from the Community Engagement for Health Equity in COVID-19 Prevention and Mitigation Project. The funds will allow them to ensure their communities are fully equipped as the pandemic evolves.
The following 11 CBOs have been providing outreach services to their communities through this grant: All Him Productions, East Hawaiʻi IPA (Big Island Docs), FilCom CARES, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai‘i, Marshallese Community Organization of Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi Economic Opportunities, ʻŌiwi TV, Partners in Development Foundation, Pear Suite, Project Vision Hawaiʻi, and We Are Oceania. In addition, these 7 FQHCs have also been awarded to continue their outreach efforts: Hāmākua-Kohala Health, Kōkua Kalihi Valley, Koʻolauloa Health Center, Lanaʻi Community Health Center, Wahiawā Health, Waimānalo Health Center, and West Hawaiʻi Community Center. Grantees have been integral in providing COVID-19 related events such as COVID-19 vaccination clinics, community pop-up events, COVID-19 test distribution, interpretation services, laʻau lapaʻau classes, and many others. These organizations have worked tirelessly and extensively to serve Hawaiʻi’s most hard-to-reach populations including immigrants, pregnant women, children, and the unsheltered.
HIPHI strives to also provide support to other CBOs that need COVID tests, PPEs, and connection to resources. It is our hope that these community organizations continue to flourish, sustain, and support each other through this pandemic and for our communities’ public health needs.