New initiative educating Elkhart community about immunizations and vaccines

NOW: New initiative educating Elkhart community about immunizations and vaccines

ELKHART, Ind.-- The Elkhart County Health Department is gearing up to provide new resources through community outreach project for people in the community.

Two community health workers created the initiative called “Conversations that Matter,” which is aimed to make the community’s voices feel valued, and increase awareness and comfort surrounding personal health choices. It's a county-wide Q&A project, which is giving an opportunity for people living or working in Elkhart, or elsewhere, to express their questions and concerns surrounding around not just the coronavirus, but other immunizations and vaccinations offered.

"I'm excited to present this opportunity in the community,” Elkhart Health Department Community Health Worker Madison Kozlowski said. “We thought that creating this resource was necessary. We are hoping that this opportunity of people having their voices heard is encouraging for people to be autonomous in their health decisions, but we also acknowledge that those decisions are going to require support or resources at times. We are hoping that this opportunity will serve as a link to better understand what specific concerns or questions people have and then we can have them addressed.”

This comes as recent recommendations for future COVID-19 vaccination mandates in the workplace may soon force many people to make health decision’s they may not feel comfortable with.

In order for residents to express any questions or concerns, they must fill out the form that health workers have put out throughout social media and their website. This has been up for about 2 weeks now, and they hope to keep it up for an additional 2 to 3 months to get as much feedback as they can.

Once that time is up, community health workers will gather up all the responses and send it in to health experts to analyze, and provide accurate and honest answers to vaccination concerns. Anyone who participates can expect these responses back via the same way they went about filling out the form down the line.

“We are very familiar with like current conditions and news that is going around, and we are also aware with the varying emotions that come with that. So, we are hoping to provide a resource for people to have their questions and concerns addressed, and we overall want people to feel supported and confident in their health decisions,” Kozlowksi said.

These community health worker positions are actually newer positions to the Elkhart County Health Department. The whole intention behind the role is to work and interact more personally with the community, and one way they’re doing that, is through this new project. Not everyone has 8-hours a day to do proper and accurate research of their own, so community health workers Madison Kozlowski and Wesley Kuric, are hoping to serve as a link to provide needed resources and information to those who need it and are asking for it.

“We get the really cool but also hard position where we are out trying to form relationships in our community, and have people's concerns addressed. It's just a hard time, because of the overall view that people have on the health department and things going on within the health scene in general. So, Wesley and I are the ones going out into the community, trying to get peoples questions, concerns addressed and them feeling heard,” Kozlowski said.

If you are interested in filling out one of the Q&A forms, you can visit the Elkhart County Health Department’s website by clicking here.

You can also reach out to community health worker, Madison Kozlowski at MKozloowski@elkhartcounty.com for any additional questions or have a form sent to you.

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