The Jackson County Health Department is working in partnership with Ohio University to train and deploy 13 community health workers to address public health concerns and impacts of COVID-19 across 11 counties.
The project was made possible through a $4.5 million grant which was secured with the help of the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health. The grant will train workers in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton counties.
The Alliance was created in October 2017 as a partnership between OHIO and the University of Toledo and is made up of Ohio University employees. Rick Hodges, director of the Alliance, said projects like this are what the organization was created to do.
The organization seeks to tackle problems at the local level using community members because they have a better understanding of their problems than outsiders. For Southeast Ohio, these problems are wide-reaching and complex.
Melissa Kimmel is an Executive in Residence with the Alliance. She said Southeast Ohio residents have health factors which put them more at risk of catching COVID-19.