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National Launch of the Vaccine Confidence Challenge

IEL Partners with Kaiser Permanente and the National Association of School Nurses to Address Vaccine Confidence Across Rural and Urban Communities 

(Washington D.C., March 21) To address vaccine confidence in communities across the country the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has announced a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).

The Vaccine Confidence Challenge is the first stage of this long-term effort by the three groups to develop a tiered mobilization strategy that will focus on increasing vaccine confidence and uptake among students, as well as sustain cross-sector collaborations that aim at strengthening the public health system. Understanding that particularly in communities of color where COVID-19 has had disproportionate impact and there is a legacy of mistreatment of Black and brown communities by the medical establishment, the opportunity to build trust in vaccines that can support student and family health is imperative, and will require sustained effort and investment.

Weekly $5,000 grants will be awarded to organizations working to improve vaccine confidence and vaccination rates. Community schools and partners in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Northern Virginia, Washington, and District of Columbia are eligible to participate. Applications are open March 8th through May 28th. 

Through the Coalition for Community Schools (Coalition), of which IEL is the lead partner, the partnership will build off of trusted relationships in schools, in communities, and with trusted medical partners in Kaiser and NASN. “The Coalition has  an opportunity to facilitate the relationships needed to reach families and build the necessary trust through thoughtful and informed community care,” said José Muñoz, director of the Coalition for Community Schools. 

“Kaiser Permanente is working to address the health inequities that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that we ensure equitable protection from this disease and support our hardest-hit communities. Our school communities play a key role as trusted messengers and physical locations to provide vaccine access for the health and safety of all staff, teachers, students, and families,” says Annie Reed, Executive Director of Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools & Communities.

“NASN is thrilled to be partnering with Kaiser and IEL on the Champions for School Health Project. As direct representatives of the healthcare system in schools, we see this project as a critical opportunity to improve the health and well-being of our school communities. The pandemic exposed serious health inequities and this coalition is well positioned to support community members and ensure access to safe and effective vaccination against the detrimental health effects of COVID-19,” says Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN, CAE, FNASN, executive director of NASN

“IEL builds the capacity of communities to achieve equitable outcomes for all.  We have a legacy of building and fostering trust in communities where families have reasonably remained skeptical of getting vaccinated,” said Eddie Koen, president of IEL. “Community schools are inherently connected to community-based efforts, and we’re excited about a partnership that will allow us to continue to improve well-being outcomes on a larger scale.” 

The overall goal of this work is to sustain healthy communities by protecting the health of children and families as a whole. You can find more information about the challenge at