The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is committed to serving communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. One of the key ways the agency has been able to do that is by launching a community engagement initiative called the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Collaborative (Collaborative). The Collaborative launched in February 2020 and has met 1-2 times per month since.
The Collaborative strives to meaningfully convene, hold space with, engage and center community in DOH’s decision making particularly including those disproportionately impacted by health inequities due to systemic oppression and racism.
The Collaborative uses an equity and social justice lens to foster a trauma informed, accessible, community-led space for COVID-19 vaccine planning, implementation and outreach to ensure approaches are community-driven and build vaccine confidence.
DOH made an intentional choice to create a structure that allows all interested partners the option to participate on an ongoing basis. This structure is based on the concept of collaboration, where a group of people work together around a shared project or mission.
Although the Collaborative’s current focus is centered on COVID-19, the Collaborative may transition to include COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts and larger health inequities beyond COVID-19 contingent on Collaborative partner feedback.
To ensure effective outreach and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine to all communities, DOH is intentionally centering the voices, feedback, recommendations and requests of communities and sectors disproportionally impacted. Communities disproportionally impacted include:
- People at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 because of underlying health conditions and/or age.
- People at higher risk for COVID-19 exposure or illness because of occupation.
- People at higher risk for COVID-19 exposure or illness because of living situation.
- People disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 because of access barriers.
- People disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic because of systemic inequities and racism.
It is extremely important to us to ensure the Collaborative centers community needs, voices and engagement. In our effort to do so, the Collaborative is co-led by Collaborative Thought Partners reflective of the larger Collaborative and function as a community advisory board. Collaborative Thought Partners are comprised of community leaders, organizations, and advocates who identify as and/or directly serve communities disproportionately impacted by health inequities (such as COVID-19) due to systemic oppression and racism.
How is the Collaborative structured?
Collaborative Thought Partners
The Collaborative is guided by the direction of Collaborative Thought Partners. Collaborative Thought Partners are Collaborative members who take a more formal, active and represented role within the Collaborative to ensure it is community co-led, centers the communities and sectors that have been most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, addresses equitable vaccine distribution and access, and advances pandemic recovery efforts.
Monthly or bi-monthly Community Relations Briefings
Collaborative members will have the opportunity to connect with the department’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program to hear real time updates, share questions and concerns directly with COVID-19 vaccine response leaders.
Ongoing Collaborative Feedback Sessions
Collaborative members will have the opportunity to provide feedback on vaccine planning, outreach and access efforts via virtual meetings, phone conference calls, or email. Collaborative Feedback Sessions will be combined with the bi-monthly/monthly Community Relations Briefings whenever possible, but separate opportunities may be organized.
Ongoing Community Shared Learning
Collaborative members will have the opportunity to participate in shared learning, developing and strengthening partnerships, sharing best practices & resources, facilitating networking and building community.
Collaborative members will decide if it is beneficial to create additional work groups, and if so, what workgroups to form. Collaborative members who are interested in a more formal role can choose to be on a work group and can dedicate up to 10 hours per month. Example work the groups could lead includes providing recommendations to address access barriers or supporting the development of community-informed outreach strategies.
What is expected of Collaborative partners?
- Support COVID-19 vaccine planning and implementation efforts as guided by state and federal guidance.
- Provide feedback on COVID-19 vaccine outreach efforts to ensure messaging is community-driven and builds vaccine confidence and trust within Washington communities.
- Share COVID-19 vaccine updates and materials with their respective communities/sectors and other Collaborative members.
What is expected of DOH?
- Build authentic relationships and trust with community members
- Engage in community-based participatory practices
- Ensure outreach, communication, and education strategies are informed by community
- Address community identified needs and implement recommendations to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine
- Approach all conversations with transparency and share openly how community feedback will be utilized
Collaborative Session Dates
Collaborative meetings usually occur the first Wednesday of every month from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tentative dates below:
- September 7, 2022
- October 5, 2022
- November 2, 2022
- December 7, 2022
See the DOH COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Collaborative page or our Collaborative Session Materials page for meeting minutes, presentation slides, and other documents.