Winner COVID-19 in translation: Making patient education accessible to minorities

Winning Submission

The Cleveland Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) is a trusted community partner with an established record of health promotion and transplant education to underserved populations. MOTTEP distributed COVID-19 pandemic prevention kits to Centers for Dialysis Care facilities in areas with a high social vulnerability index.


Health communication is a key factor in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic has developed, the need to provide clear, honest, and valid information to the public has become obvious. A significant barrier to effective health education for minorities is mistrust of the healthcare profession. Dialysis patients are vulnerable to COVID-19 and are in great need of information and resources to encourage the use of recommended self-protection strategies. An effective solution to deliver messaging to vulnerable African Americans is to seek credible messengers, tailor messages so they are culturally sensitive and appropriate, combine national campaigns with locally based ones to personalize the message, and consider the educational levels of the target population.

The Cleveland Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP) has had a visible presence in the minority community for 25 years and is the only organization in Ohio providing community-based, culturally specific transplant, health, and prevention education exclusively to the minority community. MOTTEP is a community partner of the Centers for Dialysis Care and headquartered at the Centers' East facility. The Centers for Dialysis Care and the Rosenberg Foundation support MOTTEP as the program pursues new avenues to connect, educate, and register organ, eye, and tissue donors during COVID-19.

MOTTEP received limited funding from the Ohio Commission on Minority Health to provide 500 dialysis patients with COVID-19 pandemic kits to encourage use of recommended self-protection strategies for COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic prevention kits included:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pocket tissues
  • "Stop the Spread" information magnet
  • COVID-19 checklist for prevention brochure
  • The 2019 novel coronavirus brochure
  • "Stop the Spread" wristband
  • "Stop the Spread" bookmark

Pandemic kits were distributed to patients at two Centers for Dialysis Care locations, in a region where the social vulnerability index is high.

Implementation and adaptability

Communication in healthcare has never been more challenging. COVID-19 has shown us how critical patient communication is, especially delivering urgent messages in a format that patients will receive and respond to positively. The most crucial factors when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus are organization-wide ownership of and commitment to implement change, prioritization, and sufficient resources and capabilities.

This solution utilized a combination of Centers for Dialysis Care senior leaders support, a community partner (Cleveland MOTTEP), volunteers, and dialysis clinic staff to educate minority patients on the importance of COVID-19 prevention. Cleveland MOTTEP received funding in the amount of $2,500 to provide dialysis patients with educational materials and giveaways to encourage the use of recommended self-protection strategies for COVID-19 as previously discussed. MOTTEP has a robust team of volunteers who assisted in safely assembling the kits. In addition, posters were posted throughout the centers and videos were available to educate the patients on self-protection strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic prevention kits were given to patients by Centers for Dialysis Care staff including nurses, dietitians, social workers, and other frontline workers. Centers for Dialysis Care staff fielded patient questions as needed and provided further COVID-19 education, which was documented in the electronic medical record (EMR).

As the COVID-19 crisis escalates across the U.S., it has sparked an unprecedented public health emergency requiring healthcare providers to educate an entire population on the importance of staying at least six feet apart and adopting hygiene measures to slow the virus's spread. Healthcare providers are caring for an increasingly diverse patient population that is challenged with a triad of cultural, linguistic, and health literacy barriers. All organizations need to minimize the spread of COVID-19 from the community into healthcare facilities and need to adapt their educational strategies to be patient-specific. Community-based organizations such as MOTTEP can play a key role in reaching the minority population. This solution can be adapted to any healthcare setting, including but not limited to acute-care hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician offices, urgent care centers, outpatient clinics, and home healthcare. If educational materials are not culturally appropriate, they are not communicating the intended message and will either be ignored, or worse, misunderstood as conveying false information. Appropriate health communication is a key factor in saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Contact info

Pamela Kent -