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CIANA Recognized by Public Health Corps on its First Anniversary

Last September, New York City was in the throes of the COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak, despite mask mandates and widespread availability of COVID vaccines. Confidence in our City’s ability to end the pandemic for good was eroding, and, as has been the case in health crises throughout history, communities of color- Black, Hispanic, Asian, immigrant communities, and more- experienced the worst, trailing in vaccinations but leading in hospitalizations and deaths.

CIANA, which at that point had been bridging health equity gaps between immigrant communities and the general public for a year as part of the NYC Test and Trace Corps, expanded the ways it was doing so by joining the newly-formed NYC Public Health Corps.

Founded in September 2021 by the NYC Health Department, the Public Health Corps is a “city-wide effort to expand the public health workforce by partnering with community groups and community health workers to eliminate COVID-19 inequities through outreach and education.”

A year since its creation, PHC members have made enormous strides in fighting the pandemic for underserved communities. More and more New Yorkers of color, including immigrants of Asian and Latin American origin, two of CIANA’s biggest client demographics, are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and are accessing resources they may not have even known were available to them.

To celebrate, the Department of Health hosted a week of events across the five boroughs from September 17-24, each consisting of a recognition ceremony to honor PHC members, followed by a Fall Festival and Resource Fair.

The fourth of five events was hosted at Elmhurst Hospital on September 23, where CIANA’s Outreach team, which since 2020 has been promoting COVID-19 awareness and prevention throughout Queens, were presented with certificates acknowledging their role in advancing health equity in NYC as part of the Public Health Corps.

NYC Health officials acknowledged the important work that CIANA, along with numerous other community organizations and dozens of community health workers, have done in helping underserved New Yorkers access health resources and recover from the pandemic.

Following the recognition ceremony, CIANA joined fellow CBOs, city agencies, and hospital staff outside in resuming its regular role- engaging with community members to foster COVID prevention by distributing masks and COVID tests, as well as close the equity gap between immigrants and native-born New Yorkers by promoting NYC Care, a free healthcare program specifically for undocumented New Yorkers.

The pandemic is not over, and immigrant communities have still not achieved full health equity. Yet our partnership with the Public Health Corps makes us and the immigrant communities we serve better equipped to continue to fight COVID-19 and keep our communities healthy far into the future.


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