April 12, 2024

Building Bridges: Health Advocate Synovia Moss Cultivates Collaboration to Advance Immunization Awareness with NCNW

Health advocate Synovia Moss shares her path to public health advocacy at the National Council of Negro Women, strategies to increase vaccine confidence, and how to encourage vaccine uptake in your community.

Synovia Moss with GHWs leadership and immunization colleagues at the National Council of Negro Women's National CBO Summit on Vaccine Access and Equity.

On-time vaccinations play a critical role in ensuring that children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, meningitis, HPV. Synovia Moss, national project manager with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and Good Health Women’s Immunization Networks (Good Health WINs), emphasizes that collaboration is key to increasing childhood vaccine uptake to improve public health. At Good Health WINs, Synovia oversees the coordination of diverse partners, manages resources, and debunks misinformation to increase vaccine confidence and drive meaningful change.

Synovia shares her path to public health advocacy, strategies to increase vaccine confidence, and how to encourage vaccine uptake in your community in the following Q&A! 

Q: What sparked your interest in public health and childhood advancement?

Synovia: My professional and community service endeavors are rooted in the principles of faith, family, and community, which drive my advocacy for women’s and children’s issues. My passion for public health and childhood advancement has evolved through various roles, including serving as a global strategic advisor for the Brain Matters Early Learning Global Network and as the program director for the Child Advancement Network at the Medical College of Wisconsin.   

Synovia Moss, MPA
Q: Can you share more about NCNW and Good Health WINs? 

Synovia: NCNW is an umbrella organization of 33 national women’s organizations with a mission to lead, empower and advocate for women of African descent, their families, and communities. Founded in 1935 by the renowned educator, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, coalition work is ingrained in our DNA. NCNW functions as a beacon of trust, convening diverse needs and voices of Black women through 330 local and state organizations nationwide, including those in cities and college campuses.

Through collaboration with 40 national organizations, Good Health WINs reaches 4.5 million trusted messengers aimed to boost vaccine confidence in communities of color. The network includes NCNW state organizations, national partners, affiliates, and Greek letter organizations. 

Q: How does vaccine access help promote disease prevention?

Synovia: Vaccine access ensures vaccines are available and distributed fairly to reach historically marginalized communities and protect them from illness, disability, and premature death. Our effort to promote the CDC’s Bridge Access Program is a great example of this as it provides free COVID-19 vaccine access to uninsured and underinsured individuals.

Q: What is the importance of culturally responsive approaches to vaccine awareness?

Synovia: Acknowledging the diverse backgrounds and needs of different communities can help with vaccine acceptance and uptake. Culturally responsive approaches to vaccine awareness include utilizing community leaders, and co-creating educational campaigns that use imagery, language, and voice to make the materials more relatable. Additionally, forging new partnerships with groups on the ground enables the development of culturally tailored interventions to address needs and preferences such as extended hours, on-demand virtual workshops, and after-church programs that resonate with the cultural beliefs, values, and practices. 

Representatives from Good Health WINs at an educational public event.
Q: What opportunities do you see within the communities you work with?

Synovia: CDC funding enabled 2,000 of our sections and chapters across the U.S. to embed immunization messaging in programs and events where people “stay, play, pay, and pray.” Our early successes show the value of community-based organizations to help improve vaccine confidence and uptake.

Q: What strategies do you use when it comes to debunking vaccine misinformation?

Synovia: To effectively debunk vaccine misinformation, Good Health WINs uses a multi-layered and consistent educational approach recognizing that trust is the foundation of successful vaccination efforts. 

Strategies include creating personal PSAs on local and national levels and encouraging testimonials from community-level immunization champions like pastors, elected officials, and high-profile members. We developed a Trusted Messenger Certificate program with a module dedicated to misinformation and disinformation, and toolkits with culturally relevant messaging.  We also host Community of Practice sessions where more than 55,000 trusted messengers receive ongoing education, best practices, and current information.

Good Health WINs representatives celebrate at an educational event.
Q: Why is it important to collaborate with partner organizations to raise awareness?

Synovia: An African proverb states, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.”  For nearly 90 years, NCNW has exemplified this unity to address issues impacting communities of color. This spirit of partnership extends to our efforts within the immunization ecosystem. Good Health WINs organizations have established more than 6,000 partnerships with schools, public health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, healthcare professions, and numerous community-based leaders and organizations. 

Most notably, we have forged important partnerships with organizations such as Vaccinate Your Family, Trust for America’s Health, Immunize.org, Healthier Generation, and many, many others dedicated to promoting immunization and overall good health nationwide. 

Q: What advice do you have for those who want to get involved to increase vaccine uptake in their communities?

Synovia: We must proactively safeguard our communities and protect the health of every individual. Too often we focus on the reaction, but the key lies in activation – helping everyone to understand their “why.”  It’s realizing why it’s critical for each person to get vaccinated, why we must share our stories with friends, families, and colleagues. Why organizations need to prioritize immunizations on their health agendas, and why trusted messengers play a pivotal role in advocating for a pro-vaccine culture. 

Learn more about routine and recommended childhood vaccinations and see free resources at Healthier Generation’s Vaccine Resource Hub.

Nicole Blanton

Manager, Culturally Responsive Communications | Alliance for a Healthier Generation