City of Waterbury Awarded $4 Million Federal Grant to Address Health Literacy and Increase Access to Primary Care
Waterbury, CT – On Monday, June 21, 2021 the City of Waterbury was awarded a $4,000,000 federal grant by the Office of Public Health and Science and the Office of Minority Health at the US Department of Health & Human Services to fund Advancing Health Literacy for Improved Health Outcomes. The focus of this two-year grant is to increase health literacy, improve COVID-19 vaccination rates and access to primary care in underserved urban and rural communities across the nation. The City of Waterbury was one of only 30 such awards made to cities nationally.
Building upon successful relationships with partners involved in the COVID Vaccine Equity Partners response, this grant will support mobile primary care services and linkage to a medical home for adults and children in communities hard-hit by COVID-19. Community health workers will be employed to improve COVID19 and routine vaccination rates, assist with navigation of health insurance and promote uptake of the Unite Us electronic platform to enhance case management. In addition, health and social service providers will be coached on effective communication skills and cultural competence to assure their patients are informed participants in their own health care. Fixed-site Community Health Information Hubs will be situated in areas of the City where residents are disproportionately impacted by poor health outcomes. Residents will be able to obtain COVID and other adult vaccinations, health screenings and referrals to a medical home at the Health Information Hubs.
“I am so pleased to see the Office of Minority Health at the US Department of Health & Human Services has awarded the City of Waterbury $4 million for improved health literacy, vaccinations, and primary care access for the community. This federal commitment is a significant investment in the well-being of the city. The initiative to improve cultural competence for accessibility for all residents, utilize new technology, and add mobile primary care services will strengthen the Waterbury community. As we emerge from the pandemic, I'm glad to help secure these federal dollars to help stabilize a foundation of good health and wellness for generations to come. I am glad to work with Mayor O’Leary and the City of Waterbury Department of Public Health to see this through,” said Congresswoman Hayes.
The project will be implemented by the City of Waterbury – Department of Public Health. In addition to the Waterbury Health Department, the project is founded on the expertise of a robust existing infrastructure of community partners, including the Center for Human Development, Grace Baptist Church, Greater Waterbury Health Partnership (GWHP), Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, Madre Latina Inc., New Opportunities Inc., Saint Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury Senior Center, and Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging who will provide community health workers and community health information hubs to assist residents. The partners will be linked by the preexisting use of the GWHP-Unite Us data platform for live-time referrals to care. The project seeks to increase ease of access for residents to primary care and behavioral health services at Community Health Center (CHC) Inc., Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Community Health Center, and StayWell Health Care Inc., so that residents are not lost to follow-up once they engage with the program. Project evaluation will be provided by the CHC-Weitzman Institute, the 1st federally qualified health center in the nation to be awarded the ability to train and certify health care providers caring for the nation’s most vulnerable patient populations.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.