The ND Center for Persons with Disabilities Collaboration with the Morehouse National COVID - 19 Resiliency Network

February 17, 2022

Because of our participation in the regional community coalition meetings through the Morehouse National COVID Resiliency Network (NCRN), the ND Center for Persons with Disabilities (NDCPD) became increasingly aware of health inequities related to COVID-19 among vulnerable populations in our state Based on this increased awareness, NDCPD has established a variety of partnerships and launched several initiatives.

At the onset of the project, NDCPD had monthly meetings with partner agencies (who also received funding from the Administration for Community Living and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to identify barriers to vaccination access and confidence needs. Results from these activities indicate four main barriers among individuals with disabilities in ND. These include: hesitancy related to lack of factual information, hesitancy surrounding reasons to get vaccinated, hesitancy related to health inequalities, and hesitancy among family and staff members.

To address the barriers that were identified, NDCPD completed a variety of activities that are highlighted in this impact story. In collaboration with the Office of Health Equity in the ND Department of Health (which helped to ensure accurate messaging through script writing, videotaping, preparing, and sharing materials), NDCPD developed a series of videos in which several individuals were interviewed on health equity related to the COVID-19 vaccination. An animated video on vaccine confidence was also created. These videos were posted on NDCPD’s Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram channels and are available at the following links:

Health Equity Interviews

Vaccine Confidence

In addition, four “Why I’m vaccinated” testimonials were written in plain language and disseminated on the Facebook pages of NDCPD and five partner agencies. These testimonials can be found at:

Based on data analytics, 5988 people viewed these social media pieces as part of NDCPD’s efforts to promote access to accurate information on COVID-19 and the vaccination.

Furthermore, in partnership with our statewide Developmental Disabilities network, including the ND State Council on Developmental Disabilities and ND Protection and Advocacy, NDCPD is disseminating resources developed by these entities. NDCPD has worked in collaboration with the ND Department of Health to develop additional videos and to disseminate information to combat vaccine hesitancy among individuals who receive services under ND’s Medicaid waiver. Additionally, NDCPD has been asked by the ND Department of Health to assist with their efforts to develop an assessment as part of a qualitive study related to vaccine hesitancy. This study will be conducted with members of ND’s vulnerable populations including individuals with developmental disabilities, those who are homeless, veterans, and people who are elderly.

NDCPD’ s engagement with the Morehouse NCRN has been impactful. Increased awareness of health inequities has provided a focus and direction for our collaborative initiatives with statewide partners. The outcomes that have resulted from these efforts are: 1) identifying statewide barriers to vaccination access; 2) recognizing vaccination inequities among ND’s vulnerable populations; and 3) using the information shared in regional meetings to guide our ongoing initiatives. Overall, our participation with Morehouse NCRN has contributed to our enlightened perspectives by providing expertise and resources for our statewide efforts in addressing health disparities related to COVID-19 in North Dakota.

Submitted by:

JoLynn Webster
ND Center for Persons with Disabilities
Minot State University
701 858-3206
[email protected]