July 23, 2021
Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536
Charlie Gischlar, Deputy Director, Media Relations, 443-463-7234
Maryland Department of Health and Kaiser Permanente partner to promote vaccine confidence through 'Good Health & Great Hair'
GoVAX initiative will help build more community-based partnerships through barber shops and hair salons to increase vaccine confidence and equity in African American, Black and Hispanic communities
Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced a partnership with Kaiser Permanente's Good Health & Great Hair program to bolster ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The partnership will promote vaccine confidence and equity in African American, Black and Hispanic communities by focusing education, training and outreach through local barber shops and hair salons.
“Ensuring that African American, Black, Hispanic and other communities hardest hit by COVID-19 receive a life-saving vaccine has been and remains a top priority for the state," said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “Our partnership with Kaiser Permanente will expand our efforts to vaccinate those in Baltimore City and Montgomery and Prince George's counties who are still unvaccinated and remain at risk of hospitalization and death."
As part of Maryland's GoVAX initiative, Kaiser Permanente developed a multi-part training curriculum to help equip barber shop and hair salon owners with the education and information necessary to have conversations to boost vaccine confidence and in some cases, host vaccination clinics. The partnership officially launched this morning at the Hello Bonita salon in Baltimore with a kick-off event featuring community advocates and on-site vaccinations.
“Last year, we witnessed staggering racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 across the country and right here in our region," said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, regional president, Kaiser Permanente. “We're proud to collaborate with the State of Maryland to improve health equity and eliminate disparities by providing vaccine education and other resources to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus."
Maryland has made significant strides to promote COVID-19 vaccine equity statewide. According to Bloomberg, Maryland now ranks sixth among states for vaccinating its share of the African American and Black population and third among states for vaccinating its share of the Hispanic population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 76 percent of all Marylanders age 18 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to get vaccinated—to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19, as well as to have their questions about the vaccine answered," said Dr. Mona Gahunia, infectious disease specialist and associate medical director at Kaiser Permanente. “We are honored to work with the State of Maryland to apply our unique community health approach to help achieve the critical goal of getting more Marylanders vaccinated against COVID-19."
“Ensuring that all Marylanders have access to the COVID-19 vaccine is imperative to help our state continue to move forward," said Deputy Director of MDH's Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Dr. Mark Martin. “By teaching trusted community partners vital vaccine communication related to vaccine hesitancy, we're confident that we'll be able to reduce COVID-related health disparities in communities of color."
For more information about Kaiser Permanente's Good Health & Great Hair program, visit https://communityhealth-midatlantic.kaiserpermanente.org/ or email Regina Webb at Regina.Webb@KP.org.
For the latest information about COVID-19 in Maryland, including vaccine data, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.
The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.
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About Kaiser Permanente:
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/ Follow Kaiser Permanente on Twitter @KPMidAtlantic