Episode 38: Engaging Partners and Community Voices to Reduce the Effects of COVID-19

Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Alliance
June 7, 2021

Episode 38 of the podcast More than Health Care: Nonprofits and Health Care Working Together is now available on the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ website and on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. Once a month, a new episode uncovers keys to collaboration and holistic health in pursuit of improved health outcomes and lower costs for all.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed health equity to the forefront of conversations nationwide, as reports of communities of color being disproportionately impacted by its devastation have grown. The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) saw an opportunity to engage a variety of voices and expertise around COVID-19 mitigation through their specialization in addressing health equity in underserved communities through research-backed programs and detailed implementation models.

In July 2020, MSM was awarded funding to begin a new initiative called the National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN), led by Dr. Dominic Mack, MSM professor, family physician, and director of the National Center for Primary Care. “The ultimate goal [of NCRN] is to link disproportionately impacted communities related to COVID-19, to COVID-19 related services,” Dr. Mack explained. 

He emphasized that these communities are invested in their personal and community health but aren’t always given the right resources or information. An important part of this initiative is developing proper messaging that reduces stigma around the COVID-19 vaccine and barriers that are preventing individuals from getting treatment.

A key aspect of MSM’s NCRN model is that it is powered by partnerships. From day one, MSM has involved community partners in the initiative’s planning process to better influence its implementation. “We were able to develop a model that was based on partnerships throughout the nation … in which you put the partners in front of the implementation, not just involve them in research or developing the messaging, but actually put them in front of the program because these community-based partners have this experience, they’ve done scientific research, and they have the expertise to deal with their own communities,” Dr. Mack explained. By working with its partners and hearing from community members, NCRN has been able to gauge the impact COVID-19 has had on different communities across the country in a more detailed way, better informing their work.

Listen to Dr. Mack as he describes the Morehouse School of Medicine’s NCRN initiative and the importance of engaging all voices in Episode 38 of the More than Health Care Podcast available through the Alliance website or subscribe on the Apple Podcast, Google Play, or Spotify apps.

About the National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN)

With the critical goal of improving social determinants through health equity, the Morehouse School of Medicine’s National COVID-19 Resiliency Network will mobilize community-based organizations across the mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities that are disproportionately impacted through disseminating culturally and linguistically relevant resources to the hardest hit communities. Subscribe to receive regular updates.

About the Podcast

While many are realizing that collaboration and holistic approaches are the solution, the health care and human services sectors are struggling to find the right formula to realize the full potential. The More than Health Care podcast is designed to help organizations overcome barriers to partnerships resulting from cultural differences, financial pressures, and rules and regulations.

In addition to showcasing inspiring examples of integration from across the country, featured experts will expose the myths, misconceptions, and shortcomings of efforts to address the social determinants of health through collaboration across sectors.

This podcast is presented by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities-Council on Accreditation, Beech Acres Parenting Center, and KVC Health Systems. Host Jill Huynh, vice president of new business development at Beech Acres, and producer Erin Keltner, vice president of clinical services for KVC West Virginia, work at the intersection of health and human services, bringing the expertise and practical experience to uncover key takeaways for improving health care and human services integration.

Subscribe on  Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify.

Learn more about the Alliance’s efforts to improve population health and well-being

Alliance for Strong Families and Communities

About Alliance

With millions of children, adults, and families across the nation experiencing barriers to achieving their full potential, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities works with thousands of committed social sector leaders to help their organizations more positively impact their communities. During this time of immense change in our field, the imperative for our network to be strong, excellent, distinct, and influential has never been greater. Rooted in the historic cause of advancing equity for all people, the Alliance today is a national strategic action network driven by members aligned through shared ownership and a common vision to achieve a healthy and equitable society. The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities represents a network of hundreds member organizations across the U.S. The member network is comprised of private human-serving nonprofits that provide direct services to children, families, adults, and communities and state or regional federations, councils, and associations.