WVU and West Virginia State University Extension Services Partnership Receives $ 250,000 to Improve Immunization Education | VM News
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia (WV News) – The extension service at the University of West Virginia and the extension service at West Virginia State University have received nearly $ 250,000 to improve the vaccination education and vaccination in West Virginia.
The award was presented by the Extension Foundation, in cooperation with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, as part of an interagency agreement with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the US Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It was donated to address health disparities between rural communities and other underserved communities across the United States
The Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching & Engagement initiative is the result of the CDC’s recent announcement to provide $ 9.95 million in funding to USDA-NIFA to support an innovative approach to community education and partnerships. to advance adult immunization.
WVU Extension Service and West Virginia State University will partner to develop a community vaccine and immunization education and outreach program for state residents, with a focus on multigenerational families and others vulnerable populations.
Faculty and staff from the WVU Extension Service and West Virginia State University Extension Service have teamed up to create the Don’t Wait, Get Vaccine! Initiative to provide information on vaccinations, including education and awareness around COVID-19 vaccines.
“As trusted experts in our communities, Extension plays a vital role not only in vaccinations against COVID-19, but in vaccinations in general,” said Stephanie Lusk, WVU extension officer and researcher principal of the grant, in a statement. “We also know that there is a lot of misinformation that has created a fear of vaccines.”
Their goal, Lusk added, is to make sure residents have factual and scientific information.
“The partnership with West Virginia State University will allow us to use our resources, including our faculty and other experts, to develop programs, research and other activities to help residents make these important decisions for themselves. and their families, “Lusk said in a statement. .
The team looked at data from 55 counties, including areas with greater health disparities and minority populations, and will use grant funding to focus their education and outreach efforts on four counties: Clay, Kanawha, McDowell and Mercer.
West Virginia University will lead program implementation in McDowell and Mercer counties, while West Virginia State University will lead programming in Clay and Kanawha counties. The initiative will bring together local community organizations, local health services, health care leaders and others in these communities to work collaboratively on this project.
“Given the high prevalence in West Virginia of grandparents providing full-time care to their grandchildren, we are focusing our educational efforts on a multigenerational audience of adolescents through seniors with our established network of participants. to the Healthy Grandfamilies program, ”Ami Smith, West Virginia State University director of the extension service, said in a statement.
Smith added that West Virginia ranks second nationally among households headed by grandparents.
WVSU launched Healthy Grandfamilies in 2016 to provide education, resources and support for grandparents raising their grandchildren. The program currently has cohorts operating in all 55 counties.
“By partnering with WVU Extension Service, our joint efforts will have an even greater impact on the people of West Virginia,” Smith said in a statement.
The NIFA EXCITE program supports land-donating universities and the cooperative extension system in providing immunization education to the communities they serve in order to improve confidence in immunization. Extension will also work with local partners, including healthcare providers, to make COVID-19 and other adult vaccines more accessible to rural, medically underserved, and other harder-to-reach communities.
“As we continue to address the public health issues facing our state, nation and the world, it is essential that we work collaboratively to bring education and awareness to communities in West Virginia,” said WVU’s dean of extension service, Jorge Atiles, in a statement. “We are fortunate to have two universities in West Virginia that offer amazing extension programs, and they do a phenomenal job. This award will not only strengthen our efforts in immunization education, but also strengthen our new partnership with the extension of West Virginia State University. “