Benton County, the Northwest Arkansas Council and the University of Arkansas School for Medical Sciences (UAMS), have all combined efforts to create Our Healthy Alliance, which launched a public awareness campaign to connect local Marshallese and Hispanic communities to information, resources and health care services.
According to a news release, over the past year all of these community groups have come together in raising awareness about the effects of COVID-19, the importance of vaccinations, including running and promoting free vaccine clinics around the region.
The community response surrounding the pandemic highlighted the need for continued cooperation, resources and outreach among Hispanic and Marshallese communities in NWA, according to the news release.
Our Healthy Alliance is responsible for creating an online resource hub in order to expand its efforts in promoting health literacy for the community. These resources can be located at the Our Healthy Alliance English language website, Healthy NWA, Spanish language website, Salud NWA or the Marshallese language website, Majol.
“Our Healthy Alliance will make care easier to access for the more than 12,000 Marshallese residents in Northwest Arkansas,” said Carlnis Jerry, MREC program director with Marshallese Educational Initiative. “Our community has unique health needs and having a go-to health resource will make it easier to navigate, access resources, be welcoming and have more trust within the health care system.”
Jazmin Rivas, special programs coordinator of Community Clinic, added that it can be difficult to know where to start within the realms of health care, which language and cultural barriers emphasize.
“Our Healthy Alliance brings those options together in one place for community members, making it much easier to start their journey to better health,” Rivas said.
With media engagement, community outreach and a public awareness campaign, Our Healthy Alliance seeks to unlock a lasting mutual respect between Northwest Arkansas leaders and the communities they serve.
“This group came together during a public health crisis to help residents disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Ryan Cork, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Health Care Transformation Division. “Our Healthy Alliance will have a meaningful impact on the region’s health outcomes as we turn our attention from immediate crisis response to long-term health equity.”
The project Our Healthy Alliance is funded through Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), a national program administered by the CDC to reduce health disparities in racial and ethnic communities.
“We focus on making sure community members have the resources to live healthy and high-quality lives,” said Julie Joyce, outreach design manager in the Office of Community Health and Research at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. “We are ecstatic that people will now have Our Healthy Alliance as another tool in their toolkit to help them navigate health care options.”
Grantees, through REACH, plan and carry out local, culturally appropriate programs to address a wide range of health issues among Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Alaska Native people.