Led by the Human Development Institute in partnership with Georgia State University, a coalition of advocates and community partners have taken on the important task of promoting vaccine confidence in the Southeast US. The COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Dissemination SuperHub for the Southeast region was organized with the goal to Increase vaccine access and uptake among the disability population in southeast region. As new variants of COVID-19 emerge, continuing the vaccine conversation is more important than ever.
Barriers to vaccine uptake include hesitancy and access. Organizers of the Southeast SuperHub determined that members of the disability community can be the catalyst to increase the rate of vaccination among disabled people. Local Trusted Champions are in their communities discussing vaccine resources with those in their immediate circles in person and online. They are assisting with vaccine outreach and the dissemination of plain language resources developed by the Human Development Institute and Georgia State University. By having one-on-one conversations, Champions are helping to quell fears of the vaccine and answer questions with a personal approach. They are leveraging their status as trusted members of their communities to tailor the messaging to a local context.
Champions are also breaking down barriers in vaccine access. The plain language resources disseminated by Local Trusted Champions are available in multiple languages, which are important as many members of the disability do not speak English as their first language. Additionally, champions have identified ways in which vaccine sites may not be accessible to wheelchair users, those who are deaf and hard of hearing, or who have limited vision.
Local Trusted Champions are compensated for their efforts by a stipend and are asked to complete a Local Champion 101 training, as well as a course on Motivational Interviewing. They are also expected to track their data and report back to the SuperHub during monthly meetings. Recruitment of Local Champions is ongoing, and though the project will conclude on September 30, Champions’ efforts will make a lasting impact.
For more information, contact Natasha.Collier@uky.edu.
The UK Human Development Institute Project SCOPE online training series (nine sessions) is for early care staff who work directly with young children who have neonatal abstinence syndrome, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or are affected by substance abuse, and their families. Providers from child care, Head Start, preschool, home visiting, and related programs are encouraged to register for this interactive series that will be held on alternate Tuesdays, from August 24 through November 30, 2021, at 3:30-5pm ET. Each session is interactive and engaging, and includes a speaker, presentation of a related challenge from one of the participants, and small group discussion of possible strategies.
Register at this link now! Contact Dr. Caroline Gooden at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dr. Caroline Gooden, Disability Program Administrator at the UK Human Development Institute, will serve as a Co-Investigator for the “Services for Children of All Abilities in Libraries: An Exploration (SCALE) project”. She will collect and analyze state-wide child data to measure child progress; consult with and coach local, state, and national staff that serve young children with disabilities, and conduct focus groups to guide technical assistance.
Dr. Maria Cahill, Associate Professor at UK’s School of Information Sciences in the College of Communication and Information and the Department of Educational Leadership Studies in the College of Education, will serve as Principal Investigator for the project which will research the value of libraries as community resources for young children with disabilities and developmental delays.
The research team will consist of six researchers representing the University of Kentucky, University of Missouri and Emporia State University. They will partner with state education and library agencies in their respective states to investigate the effectiveness of library services, practices, and behaviors for serving children with disabilities and/or developmental delays from infancy to five years old. The team will also develop webinars and instructional materials that address program management, engagement strategies, and tools that enable librarians to tailor programs and services that better meet the needs of this community.
Anticipated outcomes include increased public library programming; improved public library outreach to preschools serving children with disabilities and developmental delays; and increased awareness among families, caregivers, and service providers of educational and social opportunities available through public libraries.
Contact Caroline.Gooden@uky.edu for more information.
The Human Development Institute (HDI) established the Fund for Excellence for the development of innovative programs, services or products to address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, for which funding is not currently available. In the July, 2019 funding cycle, HDI awarded three Fund for Excellence projects:
- Universally Designed Health Coaching Pilot with Danielle Augustin, Lindsey Mullis, and Morgan Turner
- You Can Do So Many Things project with Caroline Gooden, Kathy Sheppard-Jones, and Brittany Granville
- Disability in Public Health Training with Tony Lobianco and Donald Lollar
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