The CHER team worked with Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) to convene a virtual community connections meeting on March 19, 2021. The event brought together representatives from SINA’s institutional partners — Trinity College, Hartford Hospital, and Connecticut Children’s — and community organizations, grassroots groups, and resident leaders.
SINA hopes to convene the meetings three times per year. At the meetings, community leaders are invited to share upcoming events, resources, strategies, and identify opportunities to collaborate.
The inaugural community convening on March 19th focused on the COVID-19 response and vaccine access in Hartford. Liany Arroyo, Director of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the City of Hartford, joined the meeting to update the group on the current status of COVID-19 infections and vaccine distribution in the city. Arroyo reported that HHS is conducting door knocking outreach to older residents of the city to sign them up for vaccine appointments. Ideas including vaccination block parties and pop-up sites were discussed. Meeting attendees were enthusiastic about the idea of pop-up sites throughout southern Hartford.
In addition to collaborating to organize the community convening, CHER team members assisted SINA in designing a vaccine access survey. Abby Fisher Williamson, CHER Director and Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, along with Trinity student Olivia Painchaud ‘21, worked with SINA to develop the survey. “The survey aims to better understand barriers to accessing the vaccine in Hartford, as well as what messaging and distribution methods might reach the most community members. We’re hoping this localized data can contribute to effectively targeting Hartford’s vaccination campaign,” says Williamson.
When the survey closes, results will be shared with local officials, as well as participants in the community convening. Painchaud writes, “I am excited for the results of this survey because I think they will be incredibly useful in determining the most efficient manners of distributing the vaccine. I also believe that this survey will go even further in identifying how the City of Hartford can best reach and communicate with its residents.”