• Choptank Health provides vaccine equity on Mid-Shore

             Contact: Lucie Hughes, Director of Communication
                           Choptank Community Health System
                           410-479-2650, lhughes@choptankhealth.org

    (Denton, Maryland – November 2, 2021)
    Choptank Health provides vaccine equity on Mid-Shore
    Choptank Community Health System was recently chosen to present “Strengthening Foundations of Trust Across the Eastern Shore: A Story of Equitable Vaccine Distribution” as part of the 2021 Maryland Rural Health Conference: Rural Resiliency, Reflection, & Recovery.
    The virtual conference took place Oct. 18-19, with the vaccine equity presentation given by Choptank Community Health Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Forte, MHA, FACHE, and Director of Community Based Programs Chrissy Bartz, PA-C.
    Forte and Bartz discussed Choptank Community Health’s response to the community’s need for equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccination throughout the Mid-Shore.
    “Our partners helped to identify where we needed to be with vaccines in the community,” said Choptank Community Health CEO Sara Rich. “Choptank Health quickly responded by participating in numerous outreach events throughout the region.”
    “Choptank Community Health immediately came to us, we didn’t have to ask them,” said Nancy Andrew, who led the local Vaccine Equity Task Force which was a joint effort between the county and the Talbot County Health Department. “They said ‘how do we help’ as soon as they heard about what we were doing.
    “The best part of working with Choptank Community Health is that they are ‘yes’ people,” Andrew continued. “This is who they are and what they do, and they were equally concerned about access issues.”
    Andrew says more than 200 vaccine-hesitant and hard-to-reach individuals were vaccinated in Talbot County due to the grassroots, community-based efforts of Choptank Community Health and other vaccine equity partners.
    Choptank Community Health worked with numerous community partners to host vaccinations events throughout the Mid-Shore. Outreach partners included all local health departments, along with The Avalon Foundation, Building African American Minds (BAAM), the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Eastern Shore Network for Change, Oxford Community Center, Preston Automotive Group, Talbot County Public Schools, Talbot County Economic Development, and the Town of St. Michaels.
    “There was a lot of hesitancy, I think we counted over 90 people who told us they weren’t comfortable getting the vaccine,” said Eastern Shore Network for Change Co-Founder Dion Banks. Banks says the organization worked together with Choptank Health to create an event that had people gravitating to medical professionals who provided free vaccinations and education to address vaccination hesitancies and doubts.
    Choptank Health provided vaccinations at two Avalon events—the Easton Carnival and the Multicultural Festival at Idlewild Park. The Avalon Foundation’s Jessica Bellis commented that participating in this year’s Multi-Cultural Festival was a highlight of her year because the event was incredibly effective at reaching the audiences they were trying to reach.
    “It was so fantastic to see the hard work paying off and to see people that were so grateful and thankful to receive a vaccination,” said Bellis. “It was a real high point in a year that felt really dark.”
    “You get one shot in one arm, to me that’s a success,” said St. Michaels Police Chief Anthony Smith, who served on the Vaccine Equity Task Force. “It’s comforting to know when you can reach out to a partner like that, and they show up, and no questions asked. And it gave me some comfort knowing that these are the kind of folks that we got out there in the community.”
    “Our vaccine equity outreach is at the heart of Choptank Health’s mission,” said Rich. “We are committed to providing access to health care for all, and our vaccine clinics and outreach were incredibly important to help reach our local underserved and vaccine-hesitant communities.”

    The presentation was part of the MRHC conference’s Building a Resilient Community Health Worker Workforce to Support Rural Maryland (In Normal and Not So Normal Times) session. As part of the presentation, Choptank Health shared a video featuring several local community members commenting about Choptank Health’s impact in providing access to COVID-19 vaccinations for the area’s most hard-to-reach and hesitant individuals. The video is available online at bitly.com/vaxaccess.
    The Maryland Rural Health Association is a non-profit organization with a mission to educate and advocate for the optimal health and wellness of Maryland’s 18 rural counties and their residents. The member organization includes local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, area health education centers, health professionals, nonprofits, and community members throughout Maryland, with more at mdruralhealth.org.
    Choptank Community Health System provides medical and dental services in Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot counties, with a mission to provide access to exceptional, comprehensive, and integrated health care for all. Choptank Community Health’s medical services include primary health care, women’s health, pediatrics, behavioral health, chronic health management, and care navigation, with new medical patients now being accepted. More information is at choptankhealth.org.


    Choptank Community Health System partnered with Building African American Minds (BAAM) to bring a vaccination clinic to BAAM’s gymnasium. Choptank partnered with numerous organizations to host outreach vaccine clinics, including The Avalon Foundation, the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, Eastern Shore Network for Change, Oxford Community Center, Preston Automotive Group, Talbot County Public Schools, Talbot County Economic Development, and the Town of St. Michaels.

    Choptank Community Health partnered with The Avalon Foundation to provide accessibility to COVID-19 vaccinations at the Easton Carnival, shown here. The organizations also collaborated to bring vaccines to this year’s Multicultural Festival, held on May 1 at Idlewild Park.

    Choptank Community Health System and The Avalon Foundation staff gather behind a thank you banner for health care workers that was created at this year’s Multicultural Festival held at Idlewild Park. The organizations joined forces to host vaccination clinics at this year’s festival, as well as the Easton Carnival this past summer.

    Eastern Shore Network for Change, front, gather with Choptank Community Health System staff members during a vaccine clinic held earlier this year at Dorchester Elks Lodge #223. Participants enjoyed music and food, with the Choptank Health team providing vaccinations and addressing any concerns regarding COVID vaccine safety.

    Choptank Community Health’s vaccine outreach initiatives included hosting a COVID vaccine clinic at the Oxford Community Center.

    Choptank Community Health System’s partnered with the Preston Motor Group to bring a vaccination clinic to the dealership in Preston, Md.

    St. Michaels community members and leaders gather with Choptank Health team at the Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels during a vaccination clinic hosted by Choptank Health. The program brought COVID-19 vaccinations to the area’s most hard-to-reach and hesitant individuals.

    Talbot County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelly Griffith receiving her first does of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination from George Washington University PA student Kurt Hufker at a Jan. 15 vaccination clinic hosted by Choptank Community Health System at Easton Elementary School. Choptank Health worked with the Health Department to administer the COVID-19 vaccination to Talbot County Public School teachers and staff.

  • Upcoming Events