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It Takes a Village

Photo of Katrina Harmon, Executive Director, West Virginia Child Care Association
Katrina Harmon
Executive Director
West Virginia Child Care Association

Guest Blog By: Katrina Harmon, Executive Director, West Virginia Child Care Association

As the African proverb so wisely states, ‘It takes a village.’  In my role as Executive Director of the WV Child Care Association (WVCCA), I’ve repeatedly witnessed the truth in this statement as I represent a village of providers serving West Virginia’s foster care youth.

In addition to providing a wide continuum of care that includes therapeutic foster care placement, adoption services, behavioral health, family-based treatment, independent and transitional living support, positive behavior support, substance abuse prevention, treatment, recovery and many, many more services, this village of providers is a voice for children who have experienced abuse, neglect, emotional and behavioral challenges, substance abuse and/or delinquency.

WVCCA’s mission is to advocate for children and families by influencing public policy, sharing member knowledge and resources, and embracing partnerships.  To grow and nurture the proverbial village, the services and partnerships within our individual communities must continually be evaluated, modified and expanded based on the needs.

Known for our perseverance and resourcefulness, West Virginians are always willing to lend a hand to their neighbors and take care of ‘their own.’   So, in West Virginia, our “villagesseem to encompass so many more contributors, and for good reason.

While the roots of addiction issues have historically run deep in Appalachia, no one was prepared for the millions of prescription pills that flooded the state between 2008 to 2017 (Eyre, 2016). From there came a transition from opioids to heroin to fentanyl, and in some regions of the state, methamphetamine. Those drugs are stronger; more lethal. Unsurprisingly, deaths from overdoses rose higher in West Virginia than in any other state (West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 2017).

No one was prepared for the myriad issues that came with the flood of drug use. The crisis has taken a toll on industry, education, and the overall family structure; it contributes to violence, crime, housing, and homelessness in every city and small community across the state. While each community has experienced the crisis slightly differently, none has been left unaffected.

In May 2018, the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources (DHHR) reportedthat West Virginia ranked as the state with the most child removals in the U.S. 83% of open child abuse/neglect cases involved drugs (Samples, 2018).  According to the State Inpatient Databases, rates for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in WV increased 284% from 2009 to 2014.  Overall, 14.3% of all WV infants were born substance exposed and 5% were diagnosed with NAS (Samples).

When comparing 2014 with 2017, there was a 46% increase in the number of youths in the custody of the state (Samples).  During that same time period, the State reported a 22% increase in accepted abuse/neglect referrals and a 34% increase in open CPS cases (Samples).  63% of the children entering care were aged 10 and younger, and 43% of the children were placed in kinship/relative placements.

Simultaneously, the State averaged a 23% vacancy rate for Child Protection Service (CPS) positions and adoptions had increased 113% since 2006 – the highest in the nation (Samples).  Growth nationally for adoptions was trending at only 6% with PA, OH, and MD seeing declines ranging from 5-28% (Children’s Bureau, n.d.).

With record numbers of children and families requiring CPS interventions due to the drug crises, and the resulting skyrocket of expenditures, the State Department began to form strategic initiatives that included efforts to:

  1. improve the coordination of wrap around and other services for children and parents to mitigate number of children that need taken into state custody;
  2. improve clinical oversight in order to move children into most appropriate care in least restrictive setting;
  3. ensure that medical records follow a child wherever they receive services.

Additionally, in 2019, the WV State Legislature further enacted the procurement of a dedicated Managed Care Organization (MCO) in an effort to better coordinate the health care needs of the State’s foster care population (Relating to Foster Care, 2019). 

In November 2019, Aetna Better Health of West Virginia was selected to achieve the goals of streamlining the administration of health services, tailoring services to meet the needs of enrolled populations, coordinating care for members, and working to transition members from out-of-state care to community-based treatment in West Virginia. 

Simultaneously, on the federal level, West Virginia plans to become one of the first states in the country to adopt the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

FFPSA redirects federal funds to provide services to keep children safely with their families and out of foster care, and when foster care is needed allows federal reimbursement for care in family-based settings and certain residential treatment programs for children with emotional and behavioral disturbance requiring special treatment.  Covered services will include mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment, in-home parent skill-based programs, parent education, individual and family counseling in the home.

FFPSA further allows federal Title IV-E funds to be utilized for residential programs that serve parents with Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), their children, and allows additional investments to keep children safely with families (and kin) that lead to permanency and/or reunification, such as Kinship Navigator programs.

The Family First Prevention Act will change the way child welfare agencies work with families.  No longer will the federal government incentivize out-of-home placements by paying Title IV-E only after children are removed. The prevention services act will allow states to claim funds for providing in-home services parenting education, mental health and substance abuse services to at risk families in an effort to keep families together.

If states continue to remove children at the current rates, there will never be enough residential or foster care beds to meet the need.  Through serving more families at home, before crisis states are reached, the hope is to reduce the trauma to families and children that removal causes (Family First Act, n.d.).

During the 2020 WV Legislative Session, well-intentioned legislators once again worked to fix systems that have been broken by the drug crises, and the state’s child welfare system was once again in their focus.  The passage of the “Foster Parent Bill of Rights,” promised an additional $16.9 million to increase reimbursement rates for foster families and, for the first time, raise those rates for kinship families to be an equivalent amount.  The broad-ranging bill enumerated certain rights for foster families and foster children while also providing greater detail for the duties of guardians ad litem, who officially speak on behalf of children (HB 4092, 2020).

There’s been a lot of work done in a very short period.  Service providers, bureaucrats, legislators and many, many other stakeholders have stepped up to make change and care for one of West Virginia’s most vulnerable population – our kids.  But just fixing state systems won’t get us out of these scary times; we need to work on fixing communities and fixing the individual families within our communities. 

While the crisis continues to reveal itself in very real, tangible ways, our neighborhoods continue to develop real, tangible solutions, and they are impactful.  Local churches are initiating foster care open houses, backpack programs are springing up for food insecure students; local businesses are sponsoring after-school tutoring; local United Way programs are allocating funds towards after-school programs so kids have a safe place to hang out; teachers are opening their homes to students who need emergency placement; police officers are volunteering at summer camps for at-risk kids, because they see the needs of these kids when answering emergency calls at their homes; grandparents on limited, fixed incomes are trying to determine how to keep their grandchildren fed while learning the new technologies required for the children in their care to academically succeed; and countless parents are offering up spare bedrooms or couches to their children’s friends who have been displaced.

It really ‘takes a village.’ 

As government funding is released and disseminated, it is imperative that we ensure our front-line community stakeholders and providers get the resources they need to meaningfully respond to the specific challenges and opportunities within their area.  While successful programs can be replicated, it’s important to remember no two communities are molded exactly the same. Research shows that the people most directly affected by systemic barriers and inequities are the best positioned to drive change in their own neighborhoods.

To all those involved in making change, your acts of kindness don’t just give kids hope, they keep the spirit of your ‘village’ alive. Maybe one day, rather than telling the state’s story of the drug crisis through death rates and dying communities, we will finally be able to tell it through the acts of good people who, despite all the odds and negative statistics and stories, saved their neighborhoods with each and every small act working together to raise ‘the village.’

You can learn more about the West Virginia Child Care Association by visiting their website by clicking on their logo, below, or by Liking their Facebook page by clicking the icon below the logo.

Logo for the West Virginia Child Care Association

References

Children’s Bureau. (n.d.). Adoption Data. Washington, DC: United States Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Children & Families: Children’s Bureau: Child Welfare Outcomes Report Data. Retrieved from: https://cwoutcomes.acf.hhs.gov/cwodatasite/adopted/index

Eyre, E. (2016a, December 17). Drug firms poured 780M painkillers into WV amid rise of overdoses. Charleston, WV: Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved from: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news-health/20161217/drug-firms-poured-780m-painkillers-into-wv-amid-rise-of-overdoses

Family First Act. (n.d.). Family First Prevention Services Act. Family First Act: About the Law. Retrieved from: https://familyfirstact.org/about-law

House Bill 4092. (2019). https://legiscan.com/WV/text/HB4092/id/2171356/West_Virginia-2020-HB4092-Enrolled.html

Relating to Foster Care, WV Code, Chapter 44. (2019). https://legiscan.com/WV/text/HB2010/id/1958217/West_Virginia-2019-HB2010-Enrolled.html

Samples, J. (2018, May). West Virginia’s Child Welfare Crisis A Path Forward. Charleston, WV: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources: Bureau for Public Health. Retrieved from: http://wvahc.org/wp-content/uploads/Prez-on-Child-Welfare-1.pdf

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. (2017, August 17). WEST VIRGINIA DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS HISTORICAL OVERVIEW 2001-2015. Charleston, WV: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources: Bureau for Public Health: Office of Epidemiology and Prevention: Outbreaks. Retrieved from: https://dhhr.wv.gov/oeps/disease/ob/documents/opioid/wv-drug-overdoses-2001_2015.pdf

CEG is a national organization that offers local programs and policy solutions.

We serving diverse populations, prioritizing indigenous populations and populations in need

CEG’s work includes Direct Service programs, Policy work, and Capacity Building

Disclaimer: Blog posts on CEG’s Community Perspectives blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community Education Group, its grantors, its corporate sponsors, or its organizational partners, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby each author serves to promote open, honest discussion about issues specific to their personal expertise, lived experience, and perspective. Please note that some of the content on Community Perspectives may be graphic due to the nature of the issues being addressed by the author.

People Worth Knowing: Katrina Harmon

Katrina Harmon, Executive Director
West Virginia Child Care Association

This week’s #PeopleWorthKnowing interview feature’s Katrina Harmon, Executive Director of the West Virginia Child Care Association (WVCCA).

Katrina Harmon was appointed Executive Director of the WVCCA in March 2017 after serving 2 years as Associate Director.

With years of experience in the non-profit sector, Katrina works with 15 member agencies to provide a voice for the most vulnerable children in West Virginia who have experienced abuse, neglect, emotional and behavioral challenges, substance abuse and/or delinquency.

WVCCA advocates for children and families by sharing member knowledge and resources, embracing partnerships and influencing public policy.

Prior to joining WVCCA, Katrina’s career roles included serving as a non-profit marketing consultant; nearly 10 years as Marketing Manager & Director at the state’s largest cultural arts facility and children’s museum; VP of Sales & Marketing for a construction firm specializing in community revitalization and development; and Account Executive for the Charleston, WV Convention & Visitors Bureau.

She received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from West Virginia University and was one of the first graduates of WVU’s cutting-edge Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s degree program in 2005.

Katrina volunteers her time with the Winfield Baptist Church Awana program, and local United Way and 4-H youth programs. She enjoys practicing martial arts with her husband and son.

You can learn more about the West Virginia Child Care Association by visiting their website by clicking on their logo, below, or by Liking their Facebook page by clicking the icon below the logo.

Logo for the West Virginia Child Care Association

Photo of a gloved hand holding two purple vacutainer tubes filled with a blood sample

Infectious Disease Testing in Rural America

Marcus J. Hopkins
Policy Coordinator
Community Education Group

By: Marcus J. Hopkins

When I first tested HIV-positive, I was living in Atlanta, GA.  It was April 12th, 2005, and I was 23 and unready to face my diagnosis.  I ignored it, for two years, in part of that unpreparedness, and in part because, at the time, the treatment recommendation was to not initiate treatment until patients were diagnosed as having AIDS, the qualification for which is having one’s CD4 cell count drop below 200 cells per mm3

On October 17th, 2007, after being admitted to Broward General in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, I had them run my numbers, after ignoring them for over two years, and that CD4 count came back at 67.

It was official – I had AIDS.

Once I got a doctor and got prescribed my medications, I went to a Rite Aid with my supposedly full-coverage employer-provided insurance, only to be told that, after filling the scrip for one of my three medications, my insurance was maxed out, and I wouldn’t be able to get the drugs I desperately needed.  I’m not really a big “crier,” but at that time, I wept in a pharmacy.

Luckily, my then-partner lived with a man who would later form the ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) who told me about the Ryan White Act and how to get coverage for my medications.  After jumping through several hurdles, including gathering tax documents, paycheck stubs, a birth certificate, two forms of photo identification, and selling a kidney (that last one isn’t a thing), I was able to get an appointment and get approved for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

I began taking meds on November 19th, 2007, and by Valentine’s Day, 2008, my viral load (the number of actively replicating HIV virus in my blood) was undetectable, where I have remained, with the exception of two months, for over 13 years.

During that time, I have moved from Florida to Tennessee, from Tennessee to California, and from California to West Virginia, and during those moves, I encountered a unique phenomenon: HIV testing has largely failed to reach rural America.

I know, right?  It’s 2020 – nearly forty years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first article directly related to what was then called GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency) in the June 5th, 1981 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) – Pneumocystis Pneumonia – Los Angeles (CDC, 1981).  One would think that, after four decades, rural America would have its collective “stuff” together and be testing its population, right?

Unfortunately, no.

Both in Tennessee (specifically, Northeast Tennessee in the Appalachian Mountains), and in West Virginia, outside of the few metro areas, HIV testing has not been a priority.  For the very same reason that doctors in this part of the country told patients not to worry about getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B (HBV), people living in rural America – particularly in the geographically isolated Appalachian Mountain region – have been living under the shared illusion that their isolation has served as a good enough preventative measure against infectious diseases.  Worse, still, is that these Americans have been told that this is the case, not only by physicians who should know better, but by the people whom they elect into office.

This has been a common refrain about every epidemic in human history:

“This is a big city problem!  We don’t have to worry about heroin/meth/HBV/HCV/HIV/STDs/STIs/COVID-19, here!  Our folks are better than that!”

This prevailing theme has been proven false not just in the recent past, but over the course of millennia.  The people who believed that the rich, the politically empowered, and the men of the cloth (e.g. – priests) would never contract the plague in 14th Century Europe are the very same people who have claimed that those of us who live in rural America don’t have to worry about the ills of urban society, because our “goodness” protects us.

Perhaps, they should go and reread accounts from the 14th Century that depict entire monasteries filled with the bodies of the dead.  If that’s too far back for them to look, they might simply look at the recently discovered rural Plague Pit found in Lincolnshire, England on the site of a 14th Century monastery filled with 48 bodies, including more than two-dozen children (Sharman, 2020).

Dr. Hugh Willmott, one of the workers at the Thornton Abbey archaeology dig site in rural England said this:

“The finding of a previously unknown and completely unexpected mass burial dating to this period in a quiet corner of rural Lincolnshire is thus far unique, and sheds light into the real difficulties faced by a small community ill-prepared to face such a devastating threat.” (Sharman)

This assessment of past preparedness should serve as a dark portent of things to come, not only as they related to the burgeoning rates of new HIV diagnoses directly linked to Injection Drug Use (IDU), such as West Virginia has seen in the past three years), but as it relates to another, more pressing concern: COVID-19.

Having lived in West Virginia, again, for seven years, and carrying the banner that reads: “We must begin offering opt-out testing for Viral Hepatitis and HIV to every single person at every single medical appointment, regardless of specialty” (a long, unwieldy banner to carry, to be certain), I, along with others who work in the Infectious Disease space, have been sounding the alarm about COVID-19, as well.  Sadly – and yet, unsurprisingly – I have encountered much the same mindset about COVID-19 as I did when waving the HIV testing flag: “It can’t happen, here.”

Once COVID-19 really hits rural America – particularly the geographically isolated Appalachian Mountain region (I know…I keep hammering this description home) – rural America is not ready to respond.  We do not have in place the kind of rural public health infrastructure that is necessary to effectively respond to an outbreak in rural regions.

People who travel from rural areas to the suburbs or urban areas of their state for work will contract COVID-19.  They will carry that virus back to their loved ones, at home, as well as to every person they encounter, along the way.

Once they begin to shed virus, every single point of contact becomes a potential point of infection.

Once they begin to show symptoms, they will have to travel back into the suburban and urban medical facilities for diagnosis, treatment, and, potentially, intensive care, and each person they encounter along the way has the potential to contract the virus.

This has been the course of every viral pandemic outbreak in human history.  It isn’t just a random prediction; it’s a pattern that repeats itself, every single time.  Sadly, Americans don’t seem to learn these lessons for ourselves, until someone we personally know and love dies.

Photo of the state of West Virginia outline with counties shaded red where confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified.  Counties without diagnoses are colored in grey.
Only four counties in West Virginia have no confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses

WBOY 12 in Clarksburg, WV has a running tally on new cases and deaths in the state of West Virginia (here) that reported an increase of 42 cases in the state since May 23rd, 2020 at 5:00 PM.  To most people, “42 new cases” doesn’t sound like a lot, compared to the overall population of the state.

When you think about the fact that those 42 patients will likely come into contact with at least three people (potentially creating 126 new diagnoses), and those three people will likely come into contact with at least another three people (378 more diagnoses, on top of the original 168)…like a 1980s Fabergé Organics shampoo commercial, only without the benefit of “…super fresh-smelling hair”.

Disclaimer: Blog posts on CEG’s Community Perspectives blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community Education Group, its grantors, its corporate sponsors, or its organizational partners, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby each author serves to promote open, honest discussion about issues specific to their personal expertise, lived experience, and perspective. Please note that some of the content on Community Perspectives may be graphic due to the nature of the issues being addressed by the author.

It was these thoughts I was thinking, this morning, as I ventured to a Walmart in Grafton, West Virginia, to pick up something my mother had ordered, and saw only store employees and a handful of shoppers wearing facemasks (myself, included).

There was no social distancing; no facemasks to be found.  As I waiting to pick up my mother’s item, I listened to the haunting strains of Naked Eyes’ “Always Something There to Remind Me” and thought to myself, “I wonder if these people will remember this day as the day they contracted COVID-19.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1981, June 05). Pneumocystis Pneumonia — Los Angeles. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 30(21), 1-3. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/june_5.htm

Sharman, J. (2020, February 19). Medieval Black Death burial site in Lincolnshire uproots previous theories about plague. London, United Kingdom: Independent Digital News & Media Limited: The Independent: News: Science: Archaeology. Retrieved from: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/black-death-mass-grave-uk-lincolnshire-thornton-abbey-plague-a9344091.html

CEG is a national organization that offers local programs and policy solutions.

We serving diverse populations, prioritizing indigenous populations and populations in need

CEG’s work includes Direct Service programs, Policy work, and Capacity Building

Disclaimer: Blog posts on CEG’s Community Perspectives blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community Education Group, its grantors, its corporate sponsors, or its organizational partners, but rather they provide a neutral platform whereby each author serves to promote open, honest discussion about issues specific to their personal expertise, lived experience, and perspective. Please note that some of the content on Community Perspectives may be graphic due to the nature of the issues being addressed by the author.

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable logo

People Worth Knowing: Jesse Milan, Jr.

This week’s #PeopleWorthKnowing video interview features Jesse Milan, Jr., President and CEO of AIDS United, a national organization focused on policy, grantmaking, and capacity building.

AIDS United has granted over $120 million over 30 years, and its Public Policy Council organizations and current grantees number over 300 in 40 states and territories. Mr. Milan is a lawyer whose career includes leading HIV programs and organizations at national, regional and global levels. He has chaired five non-profit boards including the Black AIDS Institute, was AIDS Director for Philadelphia, has chaired federal advisory committees, and serves currently on the Scientific Advisory Board for PEPFAR. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the NYU School of Law. Jesse has been living with HIV for over three decades.

You can find out more about AIDS United by clicking on the logo below.

Photo of TruEvolution, Inc. Founder and CEO, Gabriel Maldonado

People Worth Knowing: Gabriel Maldonado

Photo Credit: City of Riverside, CA – City Government Facebook Page

For the inaugural entry in our new video series, #PeopleWorthKnowing, we decided to feature Gabriel Maldonado, Founder and CEO at TruEvolution, Inc., in honor of CEG’s recent partnership with TruEvolution on a national sign-on letter to members of Congress, asking for a $5 billion federal grant appropriation dedicated to supporting, expanding, and mobilizing Rural Health Service Providers (#RHSPs) and the long neglected and underfunded public health infrastructures in rural America (read more), and a newer collaboration to form the Rural Health Service Providers Network (RHSPN).

As the Founder and CEO of TruEvolution, Gabriel Maldonado has led the organization’s efforts for the last eleven years to now include comprehensive HIV prevention and care services, a mental health clinic, and an emergency supportive housing program.

Logo of TruEvolution, Inc.

As a former member of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS under President Obama, Gabriel works to elevate the representation of minority community-based organizations in state and federal policy priorities. In addition to his work at TruEvolution, Gabriel continues his advocacy serving on regional boards, such as Borrego Community Health Foundation – the 2nd largest federally-qualified health center in the U.S. – and global organizations such as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Bringing a passion for business and consultancy, Gabriel works to advise industry leaders as an advisory board member for Viiv Healthcare and Merck & Co.

Gabriel believes that the needs and priorities of marginalized populations should be heard in every room and at every table impacting those communities. What drives Gabriel’s passion is his experiences in witnessing the devastating impacts of the industrialization of poor urban communities. Raised in the City of Compton, Gabriel watched not only his health but the health of his family and neighborhood be affected by the corrosive effects of refineries, smog, logistics and chemical facilities.

Now as a person living with HIV, Gabriel is firmly-rooted in advancing the quality of life and human dignity of people of color in the LGBTQ experience.

#CEGInWV is proud to serve alongside #TruEvolution as we work to ensure that rural Americans across the nation have access to the services provided by #RHSPs.

You can visit TruEvolution’s website by clicking on the logo, below, and links to their various social media pages will be listed below.

So, I’ve Been Thinking: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Communities

CEG Founder & Executive Director, A. Toni Young

I’ve been thinking about the impact of COVID-19 on communities, on networks of people, on families and individuals. In addition to its direct toll on the health of older and medically vulnerable people, on the economy, and on people’s day-to-day lives, this pandemic has also highlighted a number of social ills. Essentially, it has aggravated “pre-existing conditions” in our society, like disparities in access to medical care and services, and lack of access in some communities to necessary resources.

Whether it’s access to Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for persons with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), or syringes for trans folks on hormone therapy, during this pandemic, how do we have a productive conversation about those being essential needs and essential services? CEG is doing work in a very rural setting in West Virginia, and also in urban Washington, DC, but the challenges seem similar in both places. The biggest challenge before us is equity.

That’s the challenge going forward: equity in resource allocation, equity in service delivery, equity in information dissemination, equity in the availability of testing and treatment not just for COVID-19, but for ongoing health threats like HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and others. And the other thing this situation has highlighted for me is that none of us can go at this alone. No one individual — no one population — can attack this problem of access and equity on its own. If we want to get those services and resources to the people and communities that need them — whether that’s testing for COVID, or access to syringes, or just access to clean water because you don’t have running water in your home — we are going to have to work together in coalition.

For the rural segment of this initiative, Community Education Group is now working with TruEvolution in Riverside, California to ask Congress for a $5 billion federal grant allocation in the current or next iteration of the CARES Act to help vulnerable populations in rural communities across America. The goal is to help people access services, and to build the rural public health infrastructure needed to respond to COVID-19 and to future outbreaks and diseases. In conjunction with this effort, we are starting up the Rural Health Service Providers Network (RHSPN) to help direct funds and resources to where they are needed most.

We need to figure out a truly collaborative model for black communities, as well — one that accomplishes the same goals via community-specific strategies on issues such as PrEP education, HIV screening, access to care and treatment, follow-up, and workforce development. We need a Black strategy, but so often we get locked into a, “What about me? What about mine?” mindset, and we don’t get much traction, or maybe a few get it, but others are left behind. The bottom line, in both Rural America, and in Black America, is that we need to do this in a collaborative way, or it’s not going to get done.

That’s what I’ve been thinking…

Mountain Climber Summer

Community Education Group Premiering New “People Worth Knowing” Video Series

CEG’s new video series, People Worth Knowing, will launch on May 20th, 2020.

People Worth Knowing will feature three-to-five-minute interviews with people from West Virginia, across the nation, and around the world with a wide variety of backgrounds, lived experiences, and fields of work, including users unions, Rural Health Service Providers, child services, trans health, and many others.

People Worth Knowing will launch simultaneously across CEG’s new YouTube channel, our website, and our social media pages on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, with new videos launching on Wednesdays.

Logos of Astho and the National Coalition of STD Directors

National Health Organizations Announce COVID-19 Contact Tracing Training

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) announced the launch of a free, on-demand training for entry-level COVID-19 contact tracers.

The course, Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers, will support ongoing public health agency efforts to prepare new contact tracers for their work of helping identify COVID-19 positive cases and those with whom they have been in close contact.

Contact Amanda Dennison (adennison@ncsddc.org) with any questions on the training.

Logo of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University

Take The QUICk Survey – Quickly Understanding Impacts of COVID-19

The purpose of this study is to learn how the novel coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19) has impacted your life. Full information about this study is available in the informed consent document below.

At the end of the survey, you will be asked if you would like to be entered into a raffle for a $100 Amazon gift certificate using the email address you provide. If so, please indicate YES.