In January 2021, Canal Alliance joined the Aliados por la Salud (Allies for Health) campaign. This partnership includes University of California San Francisco, Marin County, and Merced County and is focused on identifying challenges and proposing solutions for improving COVID-19 services to Latino immigrant communities.
Aliados por la Salud also includes Canal residents, members of Voces del Canal, San Rafael City workers and members from the Canal Outreach Response team, a collaboration started by Marin County with the help of organizations and people working in the Canal.
Aliados por la Salud meets monthly to offer a platform for members to give voice to community concerns and needs about COVID-19 testing, post-test support, vaccination distribution and prevention. Through this approach, ideas are shared, innovative approaches are discussed to address concerns and provide support for community testing and vaccinations events.
For example, in March 2021, our Aliados por la Salud team completed a COVID-19 rapid testing campaign where we administered 762 COVID-19 tests and provided vaccine registration and other resources to the community. Team members sat down with community members to answer questions they had about COVID-19. Volunteers also conducted door-to-door outreach and called 3,000 people to help spread the word and assist individuals with vaccine registration and help them access other important resources. To supplement these services, our team of Contact Investigators also helps individuals who test positive for COVID-19 receive financial assistance and access other needed resources and accommodations.
Because all Aliados por la Salud are volunteers from the Canal neighborhood, they are able to reach their community better than anyone. People who are hesitant to receive the vaccine or get tested for COVID-19 are comfortable when they engage with their neighbors and other community members. According to Marina Palma, a member of both the Voces del Canal and Aliados por la Salud, “no one knows their community better than the community itself”.
On May 22nd, Canal Alliance and Aliados por la Salud began conducting our own COVID-19 testing campaign. Canal Alliance obtained a CLIA waiver, which allows us to do COVID-19 testing, which is done entirely by Aliados por la Salud volunteers who have participated in HIPAA trainings and California Department of Public Health trainings. Aliados por la Salud members directly administer COVID-19 tests, and manage data entry and test results. Our COVID-19 rapid testing happens twice a week at Canal Alliance on Saturdays from noon to 4pm and on Tuesdays from 3 to 7pm.
A challenge that Aliados por la Salud is currently facing is how to best reach community members who are still hesitant to get tested or vaccinated. Irene De Leon, Canal Alliance Community Outreach Coordinator, and member of the Aliados por la Salud spoke at a local church congregation to do COVID-19 outreach. Not only did Irene register five people for a vaccine appointment that day; we will be connecting the church to the Curative Vaccination unit to provide vaccinations to members of the congregation.
Yolanda Oviedo, head lead for Aliados por la Salud, is impressed by how dedicated members are to helping their community. She says, “I am honored to work with these individuals who are so passionate about helping their communities. Members have families, sometimes 1 or 2 jobs and still come ready to support their community. It is inspiring!”
While this project continues, Canal Alliance and Aliados por la Salud will continue to partner with other counties and communities to find and implement creative ways to support vulnerable community members.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
COVID-19 Testing and Health Resources
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ’s