Napisala Cynthia Hubert
In the continued battle towards COVID-19, Sacramento State pupil Julie Vue is an important hyperlink between native well being officers and her native Hmong community.
Vue’s job as a contact tracer is to succeed in out to native Hmong residents who check constructive for the possibly lethal virus that causes COVID-19, providing data and assets designed to assist cease its spread.
Vue is a part of a Sacramento County effort that collaborates with varied nonprofits serving harder-to-reach communities of individuals, together with Latinx, Middle Eastern and Hmong, who’ve been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“Once they understand that you simply’re calling since you care about their well being and wish to provide assist, most individuals are actually open to it.”
“Hmong can be difficult to reach because they are not very social” exterior of their tradition, Vue mentioned. “They are tight with one another, but many don’t speak English and are not always educated about COVID” and the significance of face coverings, sanitizing and quarantining to maintain the virus in examine.
Vue, a third-year pre-Nursing pupil from Merced, has the information and background to attach with individuals who in any other case won’t obtain essential details about the virus, mentioned her supervisor at La Familia Counseling Center, the place she relies.
“It’s important to have people like Julie who understand these communities and their struggles, who speak their language,” mentioned Mao Vang, the group’s Youth and Health Program supervisor who is also Hmong. “They are able to build trust and rapport, and that’s good for everyone.”
Sacramento County, in partnership with the Sierra Health Foundation, is hiring ethnically and racially numerous contact tracers reminiscent of Vue to assist immigrants, refugees and members of minority teams defend themselves through the pandemic, in addition to construct confidence within the authorities and the general public well being system. The tracers, utilizing an inventory offered by the county, name individuals who have examined constructive for the virus, provide details about prevention and reply questions. They examine in often with quarantined shoppers.
Promising strict confidentiality, the tracers assist bridge cultural divides and proper misinformation concerning the virus whereas providing assets to shoppers and their households.
Vang mentioned she thinks Hmong individuals typically really feel disgrace in admitting they need assistance and sometimes are reticent to confess as a lot. This makes constructing affected person rapport essential.
“The more they trust you, the more they will share with you,” she mentioned.
At Sac State, Project HMONG is working with community organizations and others to assist join Hmong individuals with medical professionals who converse the language, mentioned Chao Vang of SASEEP, the University’s Student Academic Success and Educational Equity Programs.
The virus has offered “a cultural and linguistic challenge for many Hmong families,” he mentioned, including that restrictions on massive gatherings and celebrations have turned the character of weddings, funerals and different ceremonies on its head.
Project HMONG additionally has distributed literature about COVID-19 to space residents, and actively inspired individuals to be examined for the virus and comply with prevention protocols.
Vue, who works out of an workplace in south Sacramento, mentioned her job as a contact tracer generally takes her in sudden instructions.
“At first it was pretty hard,” mentioned Vue, who started her part-time work in July. “I was nervous because you never know how people are going to react. Are they going to hang up on you? But once they realize that you’re calling because you care about their health and want to offer help, most people are really open to it.”
Recently, Vue phoned a person who had examined constructive for the virus, telling the particular person she was gathering information for the county and emphasizing that every little thing they mentioned was confidential. Hesitant at first, the consumer later revealed that one other particular person within the family had examined constructive, and that neither of them might go away the house to purchase groceries.
Vue helped prepare supply of emergency meals bins and checked on the household often throughout their restoration.
Other conversations have led to revelations about monetary wants, emotional and psychological pressure and housing points. Vue and different contact tracers will help shoppers receive assist in these areas and extra.
Vue, who aspires to a profession as a nurse anesthetist, mentioned her work as a COVID tracer is eye-opening and rewarding.
“It’s super nice to know that I’m helping to make a difference, and that I am here for the community,” she mentioned. “It makes me feel really good about myself.”