social work

New Direction Health Care Solutions Secures Grant to Propel Social Justice in Health Equity.


We are thrilled to announce that the College of Social Work (UTCSW) has recognized New Direction Health Care Solutions with a significant accolade. Selected as one of the five recipients of the Social Justice Innovation Initiative (SJII) grant funding for the 2023-2024 period, New Direction is set to receive $9,900. This grant is a testament to our unwavering commitment to bridging disparity gaps and enhancing the accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines through comprehensive community education and outreach.

Our initiative, “VacImpact,” was chosen from a competitive pool of 13 applicants. This project is at the forefront of New Direction’s mission to reach underserved communities, tackling barriers such as lack of insurance, transportation issues, and limited knowledge about vaccination. Through methods like canvassing, social media campaigns, community meetings, and disseminating information on vaccine availability, “VacImpact” is poised to make a significant impact.

Moreover, New Direction will engage the community by hosting Talking Circles, capturing poignant perspectives and narratives of the COVID-19 impact. These stories will be instrumental in informing future pandemic responses and will be shared with both the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC, ensuring that health equity and the needs of vulnerable groups are at the core of pandemic strategies.

The SJII grant will also bolster the efforts of New Direction’s 2nd Annual Health Summit. Our dedicated team, including myself, Jennifer Dixon, Health Equity Research Director, along with Cynthia Finch, Executive Director; Deborah Porter, Compliance Officer; and Brittonya Sparks, Director of Clinical Service, in collaboration with UTCSW staff such as Doug Coatsworth, Kristi Gordon, and UTCSW student interns, will lead the summit. Our discussions will delve into the lessons learned from the pandemic, the shared fears, and the best practices, culminating in the development of robust action plans to bolster support for future pandemics.

Leaders from New Direction, UTCSW, and the community are set to advocate for policy reforms and system changes that prioritize inclusivity, health equity, and active community engagement in all pandemic responses.

At New Direction, we’re not just reacting to challenges; we’re proactively crafting solutions that stand at the intersection of social justice and health equity. Join us as we embark on this pivotal journey to shape a more resilient and inclusive future.

Written by: Jennifer Dixon Health Equity Research Institute Director

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