VIDA Community Health Worker Program
VIDA Community Health Worker Program Expands Access to COVID-19 Resources
More than 50 Community Health Workers (CHWs) in eight organizations are helping Monterey County residents navigate COVID-19 Resources where they live, eat, play, work and worship.
Thanks to a $4.9 million program funded by the County of Monterey in partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC), CHW’s are trained and equipped to deliver information about the importance of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and assist community members with access to resources.
The collaborative program, named “VIDA” (Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid) began in January 2021 and is reaching 7,000 each month through phone calls, information distribution and personal outreach. In addition to English and Spanish, one of the partner organizations, Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO), is providing information in Triqui, Zapoteco, and Mixteco, indigenous languages from the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero in Mexico.
“Our health outreach workers give services to those families who need it the most. We fought so hard to make sure that our essential farmworkers got the vaccinations they deserve to be protected and protect their families because they put food on the tables of millions of Americans across our nation,” said Luis Alejo Monterey County Supervisor, District 1.
In December 2020, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved the $4.9 million Community Health Worker program to reach residents most impacted by the pandemic. The goal is to provide outreach, education and wraparound support to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and promote full recovery by ensuring adequate isolation and quarantine. The County granted the money to the CFMC to coordinate funding for the community-based organizations to implement the program.
“We are thrilled to partner with the County and these nonprofits to help people access critical resources by expanding the number of community health workers,” said Dan Baldwin, CFMC President/CEO who is leading the COVID-19 Collaborative, a multi-sector group of more than 75 participants working to lower infection and spread of COVID-19 in Monterey County.
The CFMC granted funds to ten community-based organizations to hire and equip their teams. The program is also supported by a $300,000 grant from Together Toward Health, a program of the Public Health Institute, through funding from a group of philanthropic organizations, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
CHW’s can support Monterey County COVID-19 impacted residents access resources including rental and utility assistance, wage loss replacement, funeral expense support, basic needs, mental health services, employer advocacy and accessing appointments for vaccination and testing. The public is invited to contact the participating organizations to access the CHWs:
Adriana Santana, from Mujeres en Acción notes, “As a leader that organized to make this project a reality, I feel proud to now be a Community Health Worker. I like to hear the needs of families and be able to do something. I have helped families by delivering food, making appointments for tests and vaccines. I have seen the happiness of the families when they receive support.”
“Community health workers are from the most impacted communities in our county. They know and are trusted by their communities. We are equipping them through a core set of trainings about COVID-19 prevention and infection control as well as connections with resources and support services to help their communities and hopefully reduce COVID-19 health inequities,” noted Krista Hanni, Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Manager with the Monterey County Health Department.
The VIDA (Virus Integrated Distribution of Aid) leadership team and VIDA community health workers (CHWs) have chosen to recognize 25 community members who contributed to the success of VIDA and, in turn, the health of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. These VIDA Champions added to and strengthened VIDA in a variety of ways which included helping improve messaging, offering space or financial support, training, guest speakers and contributing their time.
- Angelica Chavez
- Antonio Acosta
- Barbara Meister
- Christina Santana
- COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action)
- Debra McAlahney, DSS
- Dr. Oscar Gantes
- Gina Bartlett
- Hillary Fish
- Ida Lopez Chan
- Janine Chicourrat
- Jimmy Eitoku
- La Princesa Market
- Lilia Chagolla, CCAH
- Raymond Costa
- Santa Fe Mercado
- Sonja Koehler
- Supervisor Chris Lopez, District 3
- Supervisor John M. Phillips, District 2
- Supervisor Luis Alejo, District 1
- Supervisor Mary Adams, District 5
- Supervisor Wendy Root-Askew, District 4
- The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
- Together Toward Health, Public Health Institute
- Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice
The public is invited to contact the participating organizations to access the CHWs:
- Building Healthy Communities (831) 205-0044
- Center for Community Advocacy (CCA) (831) 753-2324
- CHISPA (831) 757-6251
- City of Gonzales (831) 675-5000
- Mujeres en Acción (831) 205-0044
- Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance (831) 728-6445
- The Village Project (831) 392-1500
This program is possible due to the strong collaboration and advocacy from COPA and participating community-based organizations.
“COPA heard hundreds of stories from families being devastated by the impact of the virus on their health and financial stability. We heard many stories from families asked to isolate who lacked the resources to make that possible. We concluded that providing support, so that families could isolate successfully, was key to breaking the chain of infection, and that Community Health Workers are the best way to make these resources available,” said Jack Herbig, COPA’s Breaking the Chain Team.
About the COVID-19 Collaborative
The COVID-19 Collaborative is a countywide multi-sector collaboration of existing and needed efforts fighting the impacts of OVID-19 our community. Its goal is to advance a coordinated action plan driven by science and best practices in public health and equity. Led by the Community Foundation for Monterey County, it brings together more than 75 participants from Monterey County, multiple cities, agriculture, hospitality, education, healthcare, community-based organizations and philanthropy to lower the spread of COVID-19. To learn more visit cfmco.org/COVID19Collaborative.
The VIDA Program is made possible by the County of Monterey and the Community Foundation for Monterey County with support from Together Toward Health, a program of the Public Health Institute, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.