Voices on Vax

We are excited to announce that Hip Hop Public Health is collaborating with the John Hopkins’ Center for Adolescent Health (CAH), HeartSmiles, JHSPH International Vaccine Access Center, Baltimore City Public Schools and the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) to increase COVID vaccine confidence and uptake among Black families in Baltimore, MD.

Funded by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Supplemental Grant awarded to the John Hopkins’ Center for Adolescent Health, our focus is to expand and deepen the reach of our Community Immunity vaccine literacy campaign and create culturally tailored resources for the Baltimore community. Using Hip Hop Public Health’s MC model, our partnership will also feature HeartSmiles Youth Ambassadors leading Baltimore-based vaccine health equity efforts. 

“To win the battle against health inequities takes extraordinary dedication and collaboration across multiple levels,” says Dr. Olajide Williams, Founder of Hip Hop Public Health, tenured Professor of Neurology at Columbia University, and Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “Hip Hop Public Health could not be at the forefront of this battle without partners such as Johns Hopkins, HeartSmiles and multi-media platforms that outlets such as Rolling Out provide.”

The grant also funded the creation of a Voices on Vax website that provides up-to-date data on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines, a searchable vaccination site locator, information on transportation to vaccine sites and a platform for youth to create and share their own vaccine stories. In addition to the Voices on Vax website, BCHD and other partners will expand vaccine access through additional pop-up vaccination sites in the community and expanded hours.

In collaboration with HeartSmiles youth, Hip Hop Public Health also remixed the Community Immunity videos to authentically represent Baltimore’s cultural and historic icons. Learn more about how we are localizing the “Community Immunity” videos to Baltimore in this PBS interview with HeartSmiles’ founder and President Joni Holifield and members of the CAH’s Youth Advisory Board like Young Elder.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Hip Hop Public Health, HeartSmiles, the Hopkins Vaccine Center, and our other partners on this project,” said Center for Adolescent Health Director Dr. Tamar Mendelson. “We’re excited to train young people as health ambassadors and develop a multi-generational website that families can access for accurate and engaging information about the COVID vaccine.”

Additionally, Hip Hop Public Health is supporting local, emerging hip-hop talent to create PSA music videos that encourage vaccine confidence and vaccine literacy. These music video PSAs are being showcased during a series of virtual events and competitions presented by HHPH to uplift and shine a spotlight on young artists using their talent and platforms to help stop the spread. So far, we have awarded a total of $8,000 to 10 young artists, including Perryion Harris, Andy Horne, Tayonna Jackson, Charles Leak, Donte Matthews, Kamari Moses, Amari Rogers, Kalil Sykes and Brenden Tilghman for remixing “Community Immunity” as part of our Lost Verse Challenge with HeartSmiles & Rolling Out.

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“Hip Hop Public Health recognizes that young people are quite literally the future and carry the ability to inform and affect positive health behaviors through their creativity and their unique perspectives,” says Lori Rose Benson, Executive Director and CEO of Hip Hop Public Health. “Our Lost Verse Challenge in collaboration with Rolling Out is an imaginative and effective way for us to harness the power of young people and their artistry to have a positive impact and outcome on communities everywhere.”

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