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Office of Equity & Inclusion Presents COVID-19 Prevention Work at Duke University

New City webpage shares ongoing efforts to stop COVID’s disproportionate impact in ABQ

The City of Albuquerque’s Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI) in collaboration with UNM Health Science Center’s Office for Community Health, presented results from the Albuquerque Health Literacy Program (ABQ HLP) at The Pandemic Divide Conference: How COVID Increased Inequality in America. This conference was held this week at Duke University’s Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity in Durham, NC and explored COVID-19’s impact on wealth, entrepreneurship, health, housing, employment and education.

OEI’s Race and Equity Data Insights Analyst, Dr. Billystrom Jivetti, prepared a poster presentation along with ABQ HLP Program Manager Terry Schleder, based on the research and data gathered from the first 18 months of the ABQ HLP. The poster, COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Albuquerque and Major Lessons for Policy-Makers, Social Equity Practitioners and Emergency Management, highlights major lessons learned, how to improve health literacy in vulnerable populations and discusses policy solutions that allow cities to more effectively address future crises.

The Albuquerque Health Literacy Project is a partnership between OEI and 12 community-based health clinics and non-profit organizations, all of whom employ community health workers. Through the partners, the city has been able to provide vitally important health education to more than 10,000 Albuquerque residents in more than a dozen languages.

The poster also showed the dashboard developed by the city’s Environmental Health Department within the first few months of the pandemic in 2020, and how the tools contained in the dashboard have continued to be used to inform the city’s response to the pandemic and other social equity challenges.

“We were able to mobilize quickly at the beginning of the pandemic because we had already well-established relationships with key community partners who have deep reach into the communities they serve,” said Michelle Melendez, Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion. “The same principles we applied to the pandemic can be applied to other equity challenges we face.”

OEI launched the ABQ HLP webpage to share more information about the program, which is funded by a two-year, $3.9 million federal grant. The web page can be viewed here and contains key data and a list of the funded partners. The ABQ HLP is a partnership between OEI, community-based organizations, UNM’s Community Health Workers Initiative, and Office of Community Health and New Mexico Department of Health. The purpose of this program is to offer culturally and linguistically appropriate services to increase vaccinations, and health literacy of populations who are disproportionately impacted by the virus.

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