Collaboration brings innovative healthcare to the South Side
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House Ball vaccinations and publication
Randi Singer, Green and Stamps were co-authors–along with other UIC Nursing faculty–on a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health in January, which documents efforts by the COVID Rapid Response Team to offer vaccines at Chicago House Balls on May 16 and July 3.
Chicago House Balls, typically held on the city’s South Side, celebrate Black LGBTQ+ culture and are routinely attended by more than 350 people. After facing mixed responses at the first ball, the team shifted strategy for the second ball. This included asking respected leaders to be present and available for support during recruitment and vaccination, using a privacy screen and ensuring that attendees did not lose their place in line if they chose to get a vaccine. At the second ball, about 5.5% of attendees were vaccinated.
The paper notes: “There are complex social and structural factors involved in COVID-19 vaccination (similar to HIV), including the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, that keep in place historical barriers to accessing health promotion services; therefore, we can draw on the impact demonstrated by innovative HIV programs to better support the House Ball Community. To connect with underserved and difficult-to-reach populations, there is a clear need for innovative approaches. This is a first step.”