Community Health Worker Program Receives Innovative Practice Gold Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials
Learn more about the program by watching this brief video.
The Fairfax County Health Department was honored with the 2022 Gold Innovative Practice Award by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments at their national meeting in Atlanta, Georgia last week. The award recognizes local health departments for developing innovative programs to meet the needs of their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The designation as a Gold Innovative Practice demonstrates the highest level of program innovation, and reflects the collaboration, adaptability, and resilience of the program.
Leveraging Community Health Workers to Improve Isolation and Quarantine Adherence was one of only four local health department programs in the country to receive NACCHO’s Gold Innovative Practice Award. The award was presented during the 2022 NACCHO360 Annual Conference in Atlanta on July 20, 2022.
The Fairfax County Health Department partnered with the Institute for Public Health Innovation to hire and train Community Health Workers (CHW) to support residents who needed support to successfully adhere to isolation or quarantine protocols. The CHW located and delivered resources, such as food, medications, and necessities to the residents, provided COVID-19 guidance, and made connections to human services providers in the community. Since August 2020, CHW helped over 46,000 adults and children across Fairfax County. As one resident expressed, ‘having this help was a blessing.’
“We are honored and humbled to be recognized by our peers, in receiving NACCHO’s Innovative Practice Gold Award. The award is evidence of our commitment to developing responsive and culturally appropriate public health programs that improve the health of our diverse community,” said Gloria Addo-Ayensu, MD, MPH, Health Director, Fairfax County Health Department. “We saw a 73% reduction in the number of times residents left the home, per individual, if they were supported by a Community Health Worker during isolation or quarantine periods. This significant improvement in adherence is especially meaningful because of its impact on preventing disease transmission among residents in higher risk communities with the greatest challenges maintaining isolation or quarantine.”
“Community health workers are an essential part of the public health workforce,” said Michael Rhein, MPA, President & CEO, Institute for Public Health Innovation. “We applaud the Fairfax County Health Department for understanding the value of community health workers as compassionate trusted professionals supporting the needs of residents in neighborhoods and populations most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to be a partner in this award-winning public-private initiative.”
“Local health departments have demonstrated remarkable innovation and resilience to better the health of their communities during the pandemic, and the 2022 Innovative Practice Awards highlight the very best practices,” said NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman. “NACCHO is very proud to join them in honoring the outstanding work done by local health departments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Innovative Practices are exciting approaches and strategies to local public health issues that were developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and were creatively adapted to meet the circumstances of the pandemic. The Innovative Practices honors are awarded to local health departments across the country for implementing programs that are exemplary adaptable programs with replicable outcomes. Leveraging Community Health Workers to Improve Isolation and Quarantine Adherence is one of a select group of successful public health practices. Learn more about this award-winning practice. The Fairfax County Health Department also received a second national award for Achieving Vaccine Equity through Data and Collaboration, selected as a Promising Practice for demonstrating exemplary and replicable initiative in response to a local public health need.