First in Future: Who’s not getting the message?

Summary: Join us for part four of the series with Juvencio Rocha-Peralta (Executive Director, AMEXCAN), Jeanne Tedrow (President and CEO of the NC Center for Nonprofits) and Doug Urland (North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill) as they discuss who may not be getting the message.

*This episode of First in Future was recorded on Thursday, April 9th, and reflects information that was up-to-date at that time.*

View the slides here.

Listen to the podcast or Watch Zoom Video.

Episode Highlights & Resources

  • What’s the risk if we don’t reach people with critical information?
  • The worse our communication = the longer the pandemic continues, the longer people stay out of work, the greater health risk


Who do we typically miss?

  • Juvencio: Often miss the minority populations – especially the Latino community – where the challenges are getting info in their own language and through non-digital media
  • Jeanne: Homeless populations which are not a homogenous group 
  • Doug: Minority populations, non-English speakers, socioeconomically disadvantaged areas (urban without internet access or rural), homeless


Juvencio Rocha-Peralta (Executive Director, AMEXCAN)

  • There are special challenges with trying to reach undocumented people. Half of the Latino population in NC is undocumented, according to AMEXCAN research. Government needs to work with community organizations and agencies to get the message out there that saving lives comes first, regardless of status. 
  • To build trust and relationships, you need to understand that the immigrant population is very diverse, from many countries and cultures. 
  • Latino organizations and non-Latino organizations need to work together to establish mutual benefit and common goals. Get to know the community and what organizations are already working there. 
  • AMEXCAN has converted their efforts virtually by establishing a community task force within their staff and with outside partners, relying on the app Whatsapp to connect to communities, and working with other Latino organizations across the state to evaluate the situation.


Jeanne Tedrow (President and CEO of the NC Center for Nonprofits)

  • There are 36,000 active nonprofits in NC – nonprofits touch every aspect of our lives
  • Nonprofits are worrying about organizational health while also worrying about delivering services that they traditionally provide. They’re having to adapt to rely heavily on virtual services.
  • Regarding communication with homeless populations: organizations providing “continuing care” – collaborations of housing provider and service provider agencies that understand where homeless people are living and what the risks are – that’s a natural network of orgs that the governor could look to to get the word out
  • To reach people who may be hard to reach (elderly, those without internet), we need to know people in the community who know those people – like faith-based organizations, eldercare agencies, etc.
  • “This is a time when people knowing each other in their communities, neighbor to neighbor, whether it’s the elderly or the undocumented, we just really need to know each other in our communities.”


Doug Urland (North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill)

  • There are many ways you can spread public health information in a community: there is a physical presence of local public health in every NC county; faith; nonprofits; trusted people in the community (police officers, business owners); key places that are still essential and open (grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.)
  • To avoid misinformation, we need to be inclusive, use culturally appropriate, respectful language that is not jargon, be timely, clear and succinct, and reinforce just a few points.
  • Use social media as much as you can and reinforce with network connections.


Public policy recommendations:

  • Juvencio: Need a policy to help undocumented individuals get financial assistance – they are part of our communities, they work and they contribute to the state economy. “As a state, as a community, we are responsible to take care of them, regardless of their status.”
  • Jeanne: NC Center for Nonprofits and the National Council for Nonprofits have advocated at the federal level to make sure the nonprofit sector isn’t left out of relief packages.
  • Doug: Policy to rebuild infrastructure of public health – for funding and workforce development for the future – “I hope out of this very difficult time, we see the value that public health is providing on a daily basis and we really make policy that reflects that.”