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2022 Healthcare Hero: First Choice Health Centers Inc.

Winner Category: Advocacy/Policy Team Leader: Sabrina Griswold, PharmD-Director of Pharmacy Return to honoree page
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For more than 25 years, First Choice Health Centers Inc. has been offering compassionate health care to individuals throughout Connecticut regardless of their ability to pay.

Offering a broad range of integrated services has allowed First Choice to become a “one-stop” health center, meeting all of its patients’ medical needs.

Why is the organization a Health Care Hero?

We understood there was work to be done to get the message out to our patients that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and easily available at our on-site pharmacy without an appointment. Utilizing grant funds, we developed a marketing campaign that included sophisticated digital advertising, a traditional mailing campaign, and Spanish and English radio streaming ads.

Decisions regarding when and where vaccines would be available focused on ways that at-risk communities could best take advantage of our vaccine program. To date, we have administered more than 11,735 vaccines.

What was a major challenge the organization had to overcome?

We were concerned by the small percentage of our usual patients among those receiving COVID shots. It became clear to us that we needed to develop a robust vaccination outreach plan if we hoped to protect our existing patients and other underserved members of our local communities against the virus.

What’s the organization’s next major goal?

The pediatric population is the least vaccinated due, in part, to later approval of vaccines for children. Our next steps include educating parents regarding vaccines available for their children and combatting the general inertia related to boosters.

Team Members: LaPortia McDavid; Katherine Michaud; Elisabet Ruiz; Pankaj Sharma

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