It Takes a Village
It has been more than a year since Hamot Health Foundation jumped in to help combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Erie community.
Partnerships with the Minority Community Investment Coalition and the United Clergy of Erie last summer led to the distribution of tens of thousands of masks, flyers, and yard signs. By providing resources and education to our most vulnerable zip codes, we saw a drastic reduction in the number of reported COVID-19 cases in those areas. Coordinated efforts by UPMC Hamot also allowed for efficient COVID testing at local community centers, resulting in more effective management of the disease.
With a goal to streamline vaccine access, especially to the underserved, the HHF team and a group of UPMC Hamot Aid Society volunteers have made thousands of calls to our community members since March — offering simple, personalized vaccine scheduling.
We’ve also worked with many local employers in varying industries to offer this concierge-style vaccine scheduling service to their employees. HHF was able to forge a unique partnership with Fairview Evergreen Nursery for this process by partnering with UPMC's Bilingual Health Care Concierge program to help Spanish-speaking employees schedule their vaccine appointments.
Fairview Evergreen president, Hagan Hetz, a UPMC Hamot corporator, and his leadership team were highly appreciative of this tailored outreach to keep his team members healthy. UPMC's Bilingual Health Care Concierges were equally grateful to lend their services to the Erie community. Yanina Hess of the bilingual service team shared “(It) was awesome. These people definitely felt better having somebody that spoke Spanish. Some were very shy and were afraid of saying anything, but (our team) gave them confidence. They even asked for their family members to also get vaccine appointments. This opportunity has touched our team in such a special way because so many of us have lost family members since last March from COVID-19 and us helping in this capacity helps heal our hearts for the loss we feel.” Another bilingual team member, Michelle Muñoz shared, “Thank you all for the opportunity, we are so blessed to be amongst great individuals like yourselves who help get shots into arms and to anyone regardless of status, race, etc.”
Shantel Hilliard, executive director of the Booker T. Washington Center, shared this praise: “It has been an honor to partner with UPMC Hamot and Hamot Health Foundation to help serve and assist the community with access to COVID testing and the appropriate PPE necessary to help the underserved populations. Along the way, UPMC has been a strong partner — ensuring we had the support of their staff to administer the tests and vaccines to the community.“
As we continue to make strides against COVID-19, the HHF team feels fortunate to play a role in this important work. As of April 23, UPMC Hamot’s community vaccine clinic has administered more than 50,000 doses of the vaccine. HHF's Jaimee Black remarked, “It has been so gratifying to help the community by building trust and creating better access for all. It has been worth every minute we have spent making these calls helping to reassure and comfort people while instilling confidence in the process.”
Schedule a Vaccine Appointment
Call 844-UPMCVAC (844-876-2822) or register online at Vaccine.UPMC.com.