FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2009
Contact: HHS Press Office: (202) 690-6343
White House Media Affairs Office: (202) 456-6238
New Guide Available from U.S. Government for Community and Faith-Based Organizations Working to Help Americans Stay Healthy from H1N1 and Seasonal Flu
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House Office for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships began distributing a new flu-response guide for community and faith-based organizations this week in an effort to reach out and educate Americans about the dangers of the new H1N1 and seasonal flu, and to reach populations who may not have access to this public health information in other ways.
The document, entitled H1N1 Flu: A Guide for Community and Faith-Based Organizations, provides information about 2009 H1N1 flu and current response activities that are relevant to communities.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Director of the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois unveiled the new brochure to community and faith leaders from all 50 states in a conference call last week.
“All of you on this call are in a special position of trust,” Secretary Sebelius told the community and faith leaders. “It’s so important that you reach out to the people you minister to each and every day to let them know what they need to do to stay healthy this flu season. At this point, early in the season, we believe our efforts to fight the flu are on track. We’re monitoring this virus closely across the country, and we’re reaching out to state and local government officials, health departments, and all the way down to communities and families to make sure everyone recognizes this flu and has the information they need to take preventive measures now.”
“We are very pleased to release this guide for community and faith-based organizations,” said Joshua DuBois. “Community and faith leaders have the ability to communicate information to community members effectively and they can help spread the word about how people can stay healthy this flu season.”
The Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security is also helping to distribute the guide to community and faith-based organizations.
“Community and faith-based organizations have a special role to play in preventing the spread of H1N1 and educating the public,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “They are often the very first resource that members of a community seek out in times of need, and are uniquely positioned in communities to provide information and offer help and services.”
The new guide, which is available for download at flu.gov and www.hhs.gov/partnership or in hard copy from the Department of Health and Human Services, highlights ways organizations can contribute to flu response efforts by:
- Communicating health information effectively and quickly in a culturally relevant and trustworthy manner;
- Supporting vaccination efforts by encouraging people to get seasonal and 2009 H1N1 vaccinations according to federal recommendations and offering buildings and resources for vaccination distribution;
- Linking vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations to vital information and resources; and
- Expanding and adjusting organizational activities to help people stay healthy -- for example, by supporting school-based flu response through child-care and youth programs, and ensuring healthy work environments for staff and volunteers.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011