About the Campaign
The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) and Department of Human Services (DHS) commissioned MEE Productions Inc. (MEE) to develop and execute the United Against COVID campaign, a community engagement initiative focused on supporting ethnic and minority communities in Allegheny County that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The main repository of science-based educational information is a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate campaign YouTube channel, Truth Not COVID. It features a series of videos shot with trusted local Black and Brown doctors and other experts, sharing the factual/scientific information for safely navigating the pandemic. It also includes more than a dozen videos with community voices and stories of resilience.
A Campaign for Ethnic and Minority Populations
The United Against COVID campaign melds the latest digital technology with the community’s “human-ology” to increase awareness and create positive word-of-mouth. The community engagement process builds upon and leverages existing relationships with trusted community partners, nonprofits, faith leaders, barbershops, beauty salons, and other “out-front” organizations, including federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs). Hundreds of trusted, community-identified leaders at the ground level, starting with the CAB, serve as message senders about COVID-19 safety measures, the need for testing, and the availability and benefits of the vaccine.
These community-identified leaders are bridges to overcome the deep-seated barrier of community mistrust and misinformation about COVID safety practices, testing and the availability of vaccines. We know that the family, friends and neighbors of these leaders trust them, even when they are skeptical and suspicious of government, institutions and the healthcare industry.
These recruited leaders receive training and technical assistance on ways to promote effective messaging within their social/personal/professional networks, using a customized Digital Community Engagement Toolkit. The Toolkit allowed each leader to customize COVID-19 messages to meet the specific needs and interests of their community. The goal is to put the information and tools in the hands of trusted leaders, so they can hold the kind of open and honest dialogue that will help people make informed decisions for themselves and their families.
An Inclusive Approach to Campaign Development
The United Against COVID campaign messages reflect the worldview of underserved minority residents of Allegheny County because they are based on their lived experiences and day-to-day realities. The campaign messages are doable and shareable in the context of economically-challenged and stressed-out lives.
Messages to Move Communities Beyond Pandemic Survival Mode
What makes this campaign unique is that it also includes messages about how residents in low-resourced communities can sustain and protect themselves for the longer-haul by engaging in daily wellness practices and tapping into their resilience to manage stress/anxiety.
Community Advisory Board
Yinka Aganga-Williams, PhD
Executive Director, Acculturation for Justice and Peace Outreach (AJAPO)
Areas Served: Northview Heights, Crafton Heights, Carrick, Brentwood, Hill District
Jerome Gloster, MD, MS
CEO, Primary Care Health Services, Inc.
Areas Served: Homewood, McKeesport, Homestead, Braddock, Hazelwood, West End, Hill District, Wilkinsburg
Rev. Brenda J. Gregg
Founder and Exec. Director, Project Destiny Inc.
Areas Served: Northside
Executive Director, Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation
Areas Served: Western Pennsylvania
Executive Director, Casa San Jose
Areas Served: Allegheny County & Surrounding Counties
Allegheny County Health Department
The mission of the Allegheny County Health Department is to protect, promote, and preserve the health and well-being of all Allegheny County residents, particularly the most vulnerable. We strive daily to assure quality public health services to more than 1.2 million county residents. In September of 2017, we became a nationally accredited public health department.
Great progress has been made to improve the health of our community; however, there is still much to be done to make Allegheny County the healthiest county in the nation. We continue to face many challenges, including air quality, smoking, obesity, lead exposure, chronic disease and overdoses.
Your public health department strives to support healthy behaviors, improve environmental health and build a culture of health in all 130 municipalities in our county.
Allegheny County Health Department of Human Services
The mission of the Department of Human Services (DHS) is to create an accessible, culturally competent, integrated and comprehensive human services system that ensures individually tailored, seamless and holistic services to Allegheny County residents, in particular, the county’s vulnerable populations.
DHS has been meeting the publicly funded human service needs of Allegheny County residents since 1997. We are dedicated to meeting these needs through an extensive range of information exchange, prevention, early intervention, case management, crisis intervention and after care services. DHS is always innovating. We value our ever-growing partnerships and input from the community as we work to improve our services and operations every day. There are many ways to reach out for assistance and to help shape the future of human services.