HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.

8th Edition of World Congress on Infectious Diseases

June 09-11, 2025 | Rome, Italy

June 09 -11, 2025 | Rome, Italy
Infection 2024

The power of cultural validation a global innovative strategy when working with vaccines

Speaker at Infectious Diseases Conferences - Julissa Soto
Julissa Soto Latino Health Equity Consulting, United States
Title : The power of cultural validation a global innovative strategy when working with vaccines

Abstract:

At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, policymakers and public health officials often cited “vaccine hesitancy” as a key challenge to reaching vulnerable populations, including immigrants, Spanish-speaking communities, Latino communities, and others who have been marginalized. Yet, community-based programs utilizing “Cultural Validation” techniques, such as “Vaccine Sundays,” and “One School, One Vaccine at a Time,” quickly demonstrated that barriers to access – not hesitancy – were the true culprits.

Cultural Validation is a technique that works to increase access and break down barriers for what many policymakers and public health officials see as “hard to reach populations.” The model encourages policymakers and public health officials to research communities, meet communities where they are, and to connect with communities in languages they can not only understand, but also relate to. Demonstrative programs like “Vaccine Sundays” and “One School, One Vaccine at a Time,” are also successful because they focus on relationship. Community and public health workers build trust and genuine relationships with principles, school board members, school nurses, or pastors, preachers and other faith leaders. Vaccination events are then held at local schools or churches, with an emphasis on building genuine relationships with community leaders and influencers, as well as culturally relevant marketing strategies, prior to the events. During the event, public health partners and providers focus on providing genuine customer service that demonstrates kindness, caring and cultural validation. As importantly, “Vaccine Sundays,” and “One School, One Vaccine at a Time,” events are designed around the idea of making vaccinations fun, not scary. Events are often referred to as “vaccine parties” instead of “vaccine clinics”. Successful strategies have included providers in superhero costumes, as well as brightly colored mobile vans, among other activities.

This model was proven highly effective during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While Latino and immigrant communities had been described as “vaccine hesitant”, events using the Cultural Validation method provided immediate results. The first event saw more than 1297 vaccines administered in what had been described as “vaccine hesitant” communities. In fact, supplies had to be bussed in to keep up with demand, and vaccines were being administered throughout the night. Over the last few years, Cultural Validation techniques have resulted in more than 30,000 vaccinations and the distribution of more than 130,000 testing kits and 100,000 masks.

Biography:

Julissa Soto Latino Health Equity Consulting has been a leader in the field of vaccines and immunizations in Colorado and throughout the nation since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The deployment of her signature community-based intervention strategy, Cultural Validation, has already resulted in more than 30,000 vaccinations and the distribution of more than 130,000 COVID-19 testing kits and 100,000 masks. In fact, her strategies and techniques have earned numerous awards across the country. Governor Jared Polis proclaimed September 20, 2021 as “Julissa Soto Day,” for her efforts during the pandemic in Colorado, and in 2023, she received the Immunization Champions Award from the Association of Immunization Managers for the State of Colorado based on the recommendation from the Colorado Department of Health and Public Environment. She was also recognized with the 2023 Distinguished Service Award from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, an Honorable Mention at the 2023 Immunization Neighborhood Immunization Champion Awards from the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit (NAIIS), the 2022 Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Health Equity from the Colorado Public Health Association, the 2022 Equity in Immunization Award from the National Coalition for Immunization Coalitions and Partnerships, the 2022 Big Shot of the Year Award from Immunize Colorado, and the 2022 Heroines of the Pandemic Award from Pikes Peak Women. She received accolades from U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, as well as from many others.

Over the last three years, Julissa Soto Latino Health Equity Consulting has organized and hosted more than 300 community-based vaccine clinics. This success comes from not only from Julissa Soto Latino Health Equity Consulting’s specialization in vaccines and immunizations, but also the CEO’s own personal and professional connection to communities that face health disparities and barriers to vaccine accessibility. As a Spanish-Speaking, first generation immigrant herself, Julissa is dedicated to forming genuine relationships with the communities she serves as well as the partners she works with; Her background and experience enable her to meet communities where they are and connect with them in culturally relevant languages and methods they can understand and relate to. Her ability to effectively engage diverse and underserved communities has also been widely recognized, earning the 2022 DEI Champions in Advocacy Award from the Colorado Springs Independent, Colorado Springs Business Journal, Southeast Express and Colorado Spring Military Newspaper Group, the 2022 Victor Smith Memorial Award from Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, the 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Best Practices Award, the 2016 People Who Make a Difference Award from Wells Fargo, and the 2015 William Funk Award for Building Stronger Communities from the Colorado Nonprofit Association.

By combining her lived experience with more than twenty years of community-based health programming experience, Julissa Soto Latino Health Equity Consulting has also become a renowned expert in bridging the gap between providers and communities. Julissa Soto holds key positions as a Vaccine Community Advisory Member at University of Colorado’s Children’s Hospital and as a Cultural Advisory Board Member at Vaccinate Your Family – a national nonprofit agency that strives to protect people of all ages from vaccine-preventable diseases – and where she shares her extensive health equity expertise to aid in the development of outreach plans to increase pediatric COVID vaccine uptake in marginalized communities. She is also a member of the following organizations and workgroups: the Immunization Workgroup at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Health Equity Commission at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Denver Catholic Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Association of Community Health Workers, the Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition, the Conference for Immunization Coalitions and Partnerships National Coalition Conference Planning Committee, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance Ambassador Team, the Colorado Suicide Prevention Commission, the Behavioral Health Equity Steering Committee at the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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