Desoto County News

Methodist receives grant for COVID-19 education, vaccine access

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) has received a $1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase COVID-19 education and vaccine access in underserved communities throughout the Mid-South, including Methodist Olive Branch Hospital. 

“We know increasing vaccination rates is the only way to turn the corner on this pandemic,” said MLH President and CEO Michael Ugwueke. “As COVID-19 continues to have a devastating effect on our community, we must do all we can to encourage vaccination by sharing the latest evidence about vaccine safety and efficacy. The science is clear, vaccination provides protection from the most severe effects of this relentless virus.”

HRSA awarded about 130 grants for community-based organizations to address barriers to vaccination, including access to accurate information, transportation and child care.

“In addition to continuing to offer vaccination to our hospitalized patients, this grant will allow trained MLH navigators to collaborate with community members to heighten vaccine awareness and encourage vaccinations,” said Jonathan Lewis, director of Community Partnerships at MLH. “Our Mission Integration Division and our Congregational Health Network will collaborate with two community partners, Center for Transforming Communities and Legacy of Legends Community Development Corporation, to expand and diversify our outreach efforts.”

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of an award totaling $1 million with no non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

In April, MLH launched a community-wide vaccination awareness campaign to further increase vaccine participation, address vaccine safety and debunk vaccine myths. MLH’s awareness campaign included social media influencers, billboard and bus shelter placements and radio PSAs. A key component of the campaign involved collaboration with local churches and faith-based organizations to reach people in an environment in which they are most comfortable to hear from trusted medical experts. Additionally, MLH’s Congregational Health Network partnered with Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church to host vaccination events in Midtown Memphis.

DeSoto County News Service – News Release

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