About Us

Why HealthWorks

The overall goal of HealthWorks, is to reduce COVID-19 health disparities and advance health equity by strengthening vaccine confidence, through providing trusted, culturally and linguistically appropriate information and education and to enhancing access to COVID-19 vaccine and booster uptake to diverse, medically underserved populations in Georgia and Tennessee. We have created a multi-state COVID-19 Consortium in Georgia and Tennessee, led by Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, and ASHLIN Management Group, in collaboration with academic partners, state and local health departments, community- and faith-based organizations, and local businesses and business associations. The Consortium (Morehouse School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, ASHLIN Management Group, Black Girl Health Foundation, 1Joshua Group, and Mojo Marketing) will work closely with the Tennessee State Department of Health and the Georgia Department of Public Health, existing academic and community partners of the GA and TN Community-Engaged Alliance against COVID-19 (CEAL), and small and large businesses in a coordinated approach.

Core Areas

Objective 1

Community Outreach Worker Recruitment, Training & Deployment

Objective 2

Deploy 200 community outreach workers in Georgia and Tennessee to conduct 20 vaccination administration events to vaccinate 15,000 residents by the end of the project.

Objective 3

Contact 250 businesses and business organizations to encourage the increase of vaccine uptake among employees and recruitment small business health ambassadors.

Objective 4

Dissemination of information about COVID 19, vaccination and administration events to the target population including small businesses and collegiate health ambassadors.

Objective 5

Use data driven strategies to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake among socially vulnerable and medically underserved populations and communities.

Under this cooperative agreement, the HealthWorks Consortium agrees to the following responsibilities:

  • Develop culturally competent strategies for on-the-ground efforts that are inclusive of the community’s characteristics and relevant historical, environmental, and social forces. These considerations may also include unique characteristics, experiences, norms, values, behaviors, and beliefs of the targeted audience(s).
  • Work with regional and local organizations to recruit, hire and train local community outreach workers.
  • Identify and engage stakeholders from across a variety of sectors both regionally and locally to work in coordination with award recipients.
  • Identify and target resources towards the most vulnerable and underserved communities using data to identify communities with the lowest vaccination rates and/or highest rates of vaccine hesitancy.
  • Monitor data and trends related to COVID-19 testing, vaccination rates, vaccine hesitancy, and equitable access to ensure that the most vulnerable and medically underserved populations (e.g. older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions) and communities (e.g. racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and refugees) are reached.
  • Clearly identify how the funds will be used and monitored throughout the period of performance.
  • Report performance measures as identified by HRSA using HRSA-provided reporting tools, and providing a timely response to requests for information.
  • Collaborate with HRSA to address shifts in community needs and service area.
  • Participate in monitoring calls and meetings with HRSA as necessary.

Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) will serve as the lead organization in this consortium. MSM has been at the forefront of anticipating and responding to the needs of communities who have been disproportionately impacted during and after pandemics and other disasters. With decades of service in these communities, MSM has earned the respect and trust that allows us to facilitate community participation and response to this pandemic. Over the past two years, MSM has built a comprehensive, multidimensional set of programs to address the COVID pandemic. Selected by DHHS, MSM built the National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN) to engage disproportionately impacted communities and address the impacts of the pandemic across the nation. NCRN is a part of the National Infrastructure for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 within Racial and Ethnic Minorities Communities Initiative. The goals of MSM NCRN are to:

  1. Identify and engage disproportionately impacted communities
  2. Nurture existing and develop new partnerships
  3. Disseminate culturally and linguistically appropriate information
  4. Leverage technology to connect communities to resources
  5. Monitor and evaluate and
  6. Apply broad and comprehensive dissemination methods.

NIH awarded MSM a CEAL grant to establish a statewide network of organizations to specifically address the impact of the COVID pandemic on the citizens of our State. MSM is a member of the National COVID Vaccine Trial Network conducting clinical trials of vaccines in minority communities. MSM President, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice chairs the Georgia Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Bloomberg Philanthropies provided support for MSM to expand its COVID mobile van program (education, testing and vaccinations) statewide. We are supported by government, corporations and foundations to build a multifaceted, statewide system to guide our communities through the pandemic. Our current COVID related activities include educational and communication campaigns for health professionals and communities, institutional and community COVID testing, COVID vaccine trials, vaccination clinics (mobile, walk-in, drive-up and onsite), community grant programs, COVID related research projects and provision of health care to COVID positive patients. However, the extensive negative impact of the COVID pandemic demands additional individual, family, and community focused health education and economic empowerment programs.

Meharry Medical College (MMC) is a leader in the field of Health Disparities Science. Meharry has a long history of collaboration with both academic and community partners to carry out its mission of conducting research and training within the context of service. Meharry currently partners on research with Vanderbilt University Medical Center through the Meharry/Vanderbilt Alliance; in integrated behavioral health training of medical students and residents with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; COVID-19 information and vaccine uptake efforts in Memphis in partnership with both the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the College of Public Health at the University of Memphis, and the Office of Rural Health Research in the College of Public Health at the East Tennessee State University. Other existing academic partners include seven (7) HBCUs: LeMoyne Owen College, Memphis, Tennessee, and Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee, American Baptist College, Fisk University and Tennessee State College in Nashville, Tennessee in which Meharry leads a number of health career pathway and leadership programs.

MMC and its President, James EK Hildreth, PhD, MD has been at the forefront locally and nationally. Dr. Hildreth, an infectious disease physician by training, served on the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Protocols (ACIP) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on COVID-19. Dr. Hildreth has been recognized as “Man of the Year” by the local media for his local and statewide leadership in the fight against COVID-19. In addition, Meharry Medical College has operated the three COVID testing sites for the Metro Nashville Public Health Department since the inception of the pandemic and operates both a community COVID-19 vaccine site and a mobile COVID-19 vaccine unit.

HRSA funding will be used to support the for the following activities across the two states: 1) expand access to information about COVID-19 and chronic disease prevention/management interventions within community organizations; 2) train and engage a community outreach workforce to deliver culturally appropriate messaging to racial/ethnic minority groups, and 3) increase the level of access to accurate COVID-19 information that supports vaccine confidence and uptake. The impact of these efforts will be statewide across Georgia and Tennessee, however there will be a specific emphasis on addressing populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including rural populations, racial and ethnic minority groups, immigrants and refugees, persons experiencing homelessness, and minority businesses.

Our third consortium partner, ASHLIN Management Group, Inc. (ASHLIN), is a Woman/Minority Owned Small Business firm and SBA SDB contractor with a 25-year history of providing innovative and effective technical and programmatic support services and human resource management for Federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Education (Ed), state governments, nonprofit organizations, and a range of other clients. ASHLIN brings twenty-five (25) years of experience around in-person, blended and online training program implementation, curriculum development, knowledge management, strategic planning, policy development, performance management, programmatic support, and project management as a prime contractor.

ASHLIN is a minority owned small business with an extensive national small business network currently in place. For this effort, which is more targeted to Georgia and Tennessee, ASHLIN will build upon its established relationship with the minority supplier development councils (MSDCs), Black and Latino Chambers of Commerce, and other local business organizations in Tennessee and Georgia. The Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council is the minority supplier development council serving Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council serves the state of Georgia. Both MSDCs serve almost 13,000 minority business enterprises (MBEs). In partnership with ASHLIN, these two MSDCs will:

  1. Conduct outreach to all MBEs in the priority counties in Tennessee and Georgia, informing them of the HealthWorks program
  2. Identify and prioritize MBEs for participation in the program
  3. Formally connect MBEs to ASHLIN for enrollment in the Small Business Ambassador training and technical assistance program.

Meet the Investigators

Arletha D. Lizana

Morehouse School of Medicine

Principal Investigator

Paul D. Juarez

Meharry Medical College

Site Investigator

Eboni E. Haynes

ASHLIN Management Group, Inc.

Site Investigator

Our Consortium Members & Partners

HealthWorks Logo
Morehouse School of Medicine
Meharry Medical College
ASHLIN Management Group, Inc.
Black Girl Health Foundation, Inc.
1Joshua Group, LLC
MOJO Marketing and PR

Health Resources Services Administration Community-Based Workforce to Build COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence, Grant Award #1 U3UHS45471-01-00