Grant Will Allow Expansion of Vaccine Education Initiative and Health Equity Impact

ROCKVILLE, MD, March 3, 2023 – The Autism Society of America announced today that it has received a multi-million dollar grant from the USAging’s Aging and Disability Vaccination Collaborative (ADVC). The ADVC is an initiative funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living to provide outreach, technical assistance, and support to promote vaccination uptake.  

“This grant will allow the Autism Society to expand our very successful and highly acclaimed Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI), a public health model that promotes vaccine confidence, education, and access to increase vaccination rates for underserved populations,” shares Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America.

This grant will help the organization expand its impact with dedicated resources for the VEI, which elevates all of its health equity work, as well as helps address organizational needs across our operations and programs. It is the largest funding event in the organization’s 58-year history. The grant provides an incredible opportunity for network-wide growth as the Autism Society positions itself for the future.

Autism Society of America Board Chair Tracey Staley states, “This transformational funding will allow VEI expansion and the continuation for it to be a major national program for the Autism Society network. The program expansion positively impacts the Autism Society’s strategic initiatives and programs tied to health equity, including public policy, employment, suicide prevention, and mental health.”

The Autism Society of America has already begun work on a 15-month work plan that reflects the organization’s goal to expand impact nationwide by engaging its affiliate network and providing direct services to targeted community sites with under-vaccinated populations.

This grant will offer Autism Society subgrants to upwards of 40 affiliates and locations to execute the work at the local and state levels, further expanding the Autism Society’s highly acclaimed VEI program. The Autism Society will mobilize its tremendously powerful network of national, regional, and local collaborators to execute this initiative in major metropolitan, suburban, and rural areas across the United States.

While focusing on COVID and influenza vaccinations —a critical priority in healthcare — the Autism Society has the opportunity to create systemic change to increase health equity for the Autism community.

The grant will support the following areas of impact:

  • Increase Vaccine Confidence
  • Promote Community Vaccine Education
  • Educate Healthcare Providers
  • Increase Accessibility of Vaccination

To date, the Autism Society’s accessible vaccine model has supported new partnerships with over 60 partners, including national medical institutions and local community leaders. The initiative has also vaccinated over 550 community members, trained thousands of healthcare providers, and educated hundreds of thousands of people through digital content.

“By rewriting the vaccine experience, we are creating a path for increased vaccination rates for Autistic individuals and those with disabilities and complex support needs,” said Banks.

Learn more about the ADVC grant here. Learn more about the Autism Society’s Vaccine Education Initiative here.

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