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Coronavirus Spread Among Minority Communities Focus of Grant

Dr. Kosoko-LasakiA $250,000 grant has been awarded to Creighton University’s Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity (CPHHE) to help stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus among minority communities.

The 12-year-old CPHHE is a community-academic partnership housed at Creighton University that seeks to improve health outcomes in underserved communities. The grant is provided by the Douglas County Health Department using funds from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).

CPHHE will use the funding to educate and train volunteer Community Health Advocates (CHAs) regarding contact tracing and how to reduce virus spread with face masks, social distancing and other public health measures. CPHHE will also enhance CHA training in cultural competency while improving proficiency when interacting with Omaha’s diverse minority populations. CHAs will also gain knowledge about how to help residents navigate local health systems and provide counseling and social support.

Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, MD, MSPH, MBA, associate vice provost and co-founder and co-executive director of CPHHE, also directs Health Sciences—Multicultural and Community Affairs, the parent organization of CPHHE.

She notes that CPHHE is a trusted resource for Omaha’s underserved populations.

“CPHHE, through its community and academic partners and staff, is a trusted member of the community and is equipped to continue working with our trained community advocates and ambassadors to enhance their communication effectiveness regarding COVID-19 prevention and control,” she says.

“Since our inception in 2008, we at CPHHE have been true partners with our neighboring communities, which are primarily underserved and underrepresented minority communities in Omaha,” she continued. “CPHHE recognizes that the COVID-19 virus is much more frequently killing and infecting these communities. CPHHE efforts with the CHAs will help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

CPHHE has already trained more than 60 CHAs through its Community Health Advocate and Ambassador certificate programs. CPHHE intends now to train even more CHAs with the aid of the Douglas County Health Department grant. CHAs are required to be age 21 or older and to attend eight weekly instruction sessions.

Candidates must:

  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Be able to read, write and understand English at a six-grade level or above.
  • Be willing to undergo the training program.
  • Be reliable and dependable.

CHAs are among individuals the American Public Health Association designates “community health workers,” frontline personnel who understand and assist the communities they serve through trusting relationships.

The contact tracing and other training elements will be conducted in partnership with John R Stone, MD, PhD (CPHHE co-founder and co-director), the Douglas County Health Department, the Nebraska Center for Healthy Families, the Omaha Housing Authority, The Nebraska Urban League, Lee Brown & Associates and the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition.

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