New Funding Establishes a Rural Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach

October 14, 2021

A team of colleagues at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) recently received funding from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) to create a Rural Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach.

Led by RTC:Rural Project Director Andrew Myers, the Rural Hub builds upon previous work by Myers and others at RTC:Rural who conducted research about the pandemic’s impact on the disability community in rural America.

The one-year project aims to improve rural understanding about COVID-19 and vaccinations through community-informed materials and outreach. The project team will develop recommendations to address accessibility and hesitancy barriers to vaccines in rural communities, such as lack of transportation and trust.

Reflecting on his recent research on vaccine hesitancy, Myers shared, “Vaccination relies on trust, and in many rural areas, trust grows from the ground up.” To this end, the project will form workgroups with local stakeholders to develop tailored materials, products, and outreach strategies, and engage with disability champions to improve local understanding about COVID-19 and access to vaccinations.

The project team will engage rural and disability-focused partnerships to deliver materials throughout the disability community including: The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), AUCD’s Vaccine Confidence Community of Practice, and the Montana Disability and Health Program (MTDH), among others.

“I am incredibly excited to work with our longtime disability champions and trusted local experts toward improving understanding about COVID-19 and vaccine accessibility in rural areas,” said Myers.

For more information about the Rural Hub for COVID-19 Vaccination Outreach project, contact Andrew Myers at Andrew.myers@mso.umt.edu.