COVID-19 Hmong and Hispanic Communication Network

Bridging the communication gap to provide health information to at-risk communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the urgent need for an informed public to minimize the spread of this disease and its negative health consequences. Members of our immigrant communities are especially vulnerable to negative health, educational and economic impacts.

Collaborating for more informed, healthier communities
Recognizing the existing communication barriers with central Wisconsin Hmong and Hispanic people, WIPPS launched a project in Spring 2020 to strengthen communication channels and help with a regular information exchange between public health/health systems/resource agencies and people in the Hmong and Hispanic communities. The program began in May with the training of community coordinators and a network of 12 community liaisons.

Because of literacy issues, written information about COVID will not work for some people. These liaisons are able to share relevant, culturally sensitive informational videos in Hmong and Spanish using their iPads. Two recent examples:

  • The Hmong Medical Association has created videos about COVID featuring Hmong physicians and
  • Videos featuring Hispanic Extension agents showed how to prevent the spread of COVID in an agricultural setting

Far-reaching impact
In just three months, the COVID-19 Hmong and Hispanic Communication Network has helped over 1,000 people in Hmong and Hispanic communities to share their concerns and ideas, while at the same time receive information about COVID-19 and access to resources in their own language. The community liaisons are viewed as trusted messengers because of their history with and connection to the community.

WIPPS thanks these community partners for their help in getting the project off and running:

  • Marathon County Health Department
  • Ascension WI
  • Marshfield Clinic Health System
  • Aspirus
  • Medical College of WI-Central WI (MCW-CW)
  • E.A.G. Interpreters Hispanic Outreach
  • Hmong WI Chamber of Commerce
  • Hmong American Center
  • North Central Health Care
  • Family Health La Clinica
  • Bridge Community Clinic