Covid-19 Health Disparities Project

This project is funded by the CDC's National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved through the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This initiative aims to reduce COVID-19-related health disparities among people with disabilities and serious mental illness and aging adults.

We Have Three Main Areas of Focus:


1.Technology and Digital Connectivity

Increase access to technology and connectivity for eligible Pennsylvanians.

TechOWL runs Connect with Tech, a statewide tablet distribution program to increase access to technology. Technology distributed and supported by Connect with Tech improves access to COVID-19 related health services and information. Apps are available to support digital literacy skills, provide access to health and vaccination information, and improve access to telehealth using tutorials.

Information and application are available on the TechOWL website.

2. Accessible Health Communication

Improve health messaging and communication based on the beliefs, attitudes, and motivations of people with disabilities and aging adults.

The Institute on Disabilities is using community input to identify the best ways to create and share health messages and media with underserved populations.

The Center for Self Determination, Self-Direction and Self-Care is working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and aging adults to co-create targeted, accessible health messages informed by their personal stories.

The REACH Lab is developing a training on COVID-19 safety and prevention strategies for people with intellectual and developmental disability.


3. Social Connectivity

Provide virtual services that are designed to decrease stress, isolation, and loneliness for people with disabilities, mental health concerns, and aging adults.

The Center for Self Determination, Self-Direction and Self-Care runs "Making the Connection" and "Combating Loneliness Through Friendly Visiting" to reduce isolation among people with disabilities and aging adults.

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion runs the peer-led support group "Power of Dependable Souls" to promote social connectedness for adults with serious mental illness.

Inclusive Health Equity Collaborative Partners

A special thanks to our Statewide Covid-19 Response Advisory Board who provide community input on all aspects of this project. They share their expertise and lived experience to make recommendations about project needs, activities, recruitment, and how to share this work with others. Members include Alan Holdsworth, Crystal Austin, Jack Butler, Jeffrey Shair, Lynda Pickett, Monica Still, Rob Wetherington, and Theo Braddy.