The Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice (HHIPP) at UCLA Luskin is leading an effort to ensure that vulnerable populations in Los Angeles are protected from the mpox virus.
HHIPP has teamed up with nonprofits, grassroots groups, health care providers and government agencies to provide mpox information and free vaccinations at a summerlong series of events serving the LGBTQ+ community. Nearly 1,000 Angelenos have received the vaccine since the campaign launched in June, LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
Now, HHIPP will take the campaign to the rest of California, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, an independent nonprofit that helps to marshal resources to support the CDC’s public health priorities.
“We particularly want to focus on Black and Latinx folks, as we were seeing lower rates of vaccination in those groups, and on people living with HIV who are out of care, who are particularly vulnerable to complications related to mpox,” said HHIPP Director Ian Holloway, professor of social welfare at UCLA Luskin.
Holloway was named a scientific advisor to the California Department of Public Health in 2022, after the first case of mpox was reported in the United States. In spring of 2023, the CDC and local and state health agencies called for renewed efforts to protect people from the virus, which is typically spread through sexual activity or skin-to-skin contact.
In June, HHIPP and its partners launched a social media campaign called stickitin.la to share information about mpox, invite the community to pop-up vaccination clinics and offer other health services, including testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
“In true HHIPP fashion, this was a co-creation led by and for our community and facilitated by us,” Holloway said. “Very quickly, we were able to get a lot of large and small community-based organizations working on sexual health to come on board and to help cross-promote and co-sponsor events and provide financial support.”
To date, around 20 community partners have joined the campaign. “They’re all working multiple angles to continue to get the word out about the importance of mpox vaccination and then actually bring it to communities where it may not have been as readily available,” Holloway said.
The campaign also invited the community to an End of Summer Celebration on Aug. 31 at the APLA Health in Baldwin Hills to share information about the vaccination effort and promote diversity, inclusion and sexual health awareness.