Community Engagement Specialist US COVID-19 Response Initiative, Wake County
Vital Strategies is a US-based international public health organization working in more than 70 countries to strengthen public health systems and address leading causes of morbidity and mortality.
Resolve to Save Lives is a global health initiative of Vital Strategies that since 2017 has been working closely with governments, international organizations, community organizations, academic and other partners in more than 40 countries to strengthen national capacity to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats. For more information about our Prevent Epidemics initiative, visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org/ and https://preventepidemics.org/
Our work in the US is focused on strengthening the technical, policy and operational capacity of state, city and county health departments to effectively control COVID-19, with an emphasis on vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We are working North Carolina to demonstrate innovation and document and disseminate best practices.
Vital Strategies aims to recruit a consultant who is best suited to work within our US COVID response team and welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds – men and women, people of all ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions and beliefs. We particularly encourage applications from Black and Latinx candidates, given COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on these communities.
The Community Engagement Specialist will be selected, funded, paid, and supported technically by the Vital Strategies / Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response Team, and will be embedded in Wake County Public Health and Clinics (Raleigh, North Carolina area) to support the health department’s COVID-19 response efforts.
This individual will operate as an embedded team member of the county health department, reporting to a senior member of the health department while receiving technical guidance from and collaborating with Vital Strategies/Resolve to Save Lives US COVID-19 Response cross-functional team.
This is a full-time employment contract for a period 12 months with the employee working remotely until on-site work is possible. A very strong preference will be given to applicants residing in or near to Wake County, North Carolina.
In close collaboration with local health department staff and our US COVID-19 Response Team’s Senior Advisor for Community Engagement, provide support within the health department to:
• Identify populations, communities, and groups (“communities”) in the jurisdiction that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 due to systemic influences and barriers
• Identify and connect with organizations, networks, formal and informal groups and leaders, and other individuals that are part of, have knowledge of, and have influence in the identified communities
• Build and enhance contact lists for ongoing engagement
• Engage and work with the identified organizations, networks, groups, leaders, and other individuals to do the following in their communities:
o Identify factors contributing to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19
o Identify barriers to effective COVID-199 prevention and control
o Identify ways to adapt and deploy COVID-19 prevention and control measures more effectively and identify additional measures that may be effective in the community
o Ensure that COVID-19 messaging is appropriate to the community and builds trust in prevention and control initiatives
o Work with communications team locally and with the Senior Advisor for Community Engagement to identify and make sure appropriate communications materials are developed to support community acceptance of alert levels, testing, isolation, contact tracing, quarantine, and other prevention and control measures
o Working with communications team members, provide input and support for the implementation of public education campaigns, including traditional media and digital placement
o Ensure that appropriate data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted to accurately describe the situation in the community
o Ensure that program monitoring and evaluation adequately capture and describe the effectiveness of prevention and control measures, including communications and community engagement efforts
• Brief the USCR Team at least once a week about lessons learned in the program
• Other duties as assigned
Required competencies and qualifications:
• At least 7 years of community engagement or community relations experience with progressive increase in responsibilities
• Experience planning and implementing targeted community engagement initiatives
• Health communications experience (e.g., health policy, strategic communications, public relations, digital communications) – preferably within the US public health system
• Bachelor’s degree in social science, communications, public health, or related field or more than 7 years’ relevant work experience with demonstrated ability to effect social change
• Demonstrated cultural proficiency and experience working with diverse communities
• Strong interpersonal skills, ability to build trust and relationships with community partners
• Exceptional oral communication skills
• Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment with multiple stakeholders
• Proficiency in Spanish desirable