According to the Advance-Monticellonian, the Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas has awarded $214,100 to the UAMS FAITH Network and the Arkansas Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association. This funding is to train and provide resources to faith-based organizations in Southeast Arkansas to help educate residents about the COVID-19 vaccinations.

The sole purpose of this outreach and educational effort is to address vaccine hesitancy and encourage vaccination acceptance. “As the demand for vaccines has dropped off, especially during such a critical stage in the battle against Covid-19, we find it necessary to take our message to Arkansans through a grassroots educational initiative,” said Curtis Barnett, president, and chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The Arkansas Department of Health Office of Faith-based Outreach will coordinate The Faith and the Covid-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, a platform for communities of faith to have real-time, live discussions with medical experts from their same racial and ethnic background, and to have their questions answered so that they can make the decision that can ultimately protect themselves and their loved ones. Those programs will be tailored to meet the specific needs of each faith community by using web conferencing, live video streaming, face-to-face meetings, or combinations of each.

The one-year grant is to help pay for the cost of hiring community health workers, recruiting speakers, developing the curriculum and community education materials, scheduling meeting opportunities, and coordinating community engagement.

For more information contact Tamier Wells at [email protected] or 501-779-8794.