Cooperative Extension has been given the opportunity to continue immunization education work through the Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE). The Extension Foundation, in cooperation with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP), through an Interagency Agreement with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are funding the Cooperative Extension System to increase vaccine confidence among rural and other underserved communities.
This new funded effort builds on the success of two prior projects since 2021 including the EXCITE Vaccinate with Confidence Communication Campaign, and competitively-selected EXCITE Pilot Projects. For the new Implementation Phase, 33 projects from 37 institutions have been awarded, including five institutions that are new to EXCITE. These projects represent all six regions of LGUs. EXCITE serves all Land-grant Universities (LGUs) and all were invited to apply.
The Implementation Phase expands the project scope to include all adult immunizations and COVID-19. The overarching goals of the new phase of EXCITE is to enhance the accessibility and acceptability of local adult immunization opportunities for rural populations through strategic partnerships, while also instilling greater confidence in LGUs to provide effective COVID-19 immunization education. The CDC has identified two priorities for the EXCITE projects in this Implementation Phase. The projects must serve a rural and medically underserved population, and they must have a public health partnership.
The Implementation Phase is an 18-month educational campaign, characterized by community engagement and close collaboration with public health partners. To support the participating teams, a mentoring/coaching model will be implemented, providing valuable guidance and assistance throughout the project. Furthermore, quarterly professional development workshops will be conducted to foster continuous learning and sharing among the teams.
The objectives of the new Implementation Phase of EXCITE as are follows:
- Increasing partnerships with local departments of public health with special emphasis placed on those at the local level.
- Increasing positive perception of public health partners and vaccine providers of the value of collaboration with Extension
- Changing attitudes and beliefs within LGU’s about adult immunization will lead the organization to become an asset model focused on building early adoption and innovation leaders in adult immunization education
- Assessing best practices for adult immunization in rural communities through National Convening and three selected pilot projects
Below is a list of institutions receiving funding for the Implementation Phase:
Aaniiih Nakoda College
Blackfeet Community College
Central State University
Florida A&M University & University of Florida
Institute of American Indian Arts
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State University
North Carolina A&T State University
Ohio State University & Texas A&M University
Pennsylvania State University
Tennessee State University
United Tribes Technical College
University of Arkansas
University of California System
University of Delaware
University of Georgia
University of Idaho
University of Illinois
University of Kentucky
University of Maryland
University of Minnesota
University of the District of Columbia
Utah State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & Virginia State University
West Virginia State University & West Virginia University
Extension Collaboration on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE) is a nationwide local response by U.S. Cooperative Extension made possible through an interagency agreement between United States Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a cooperative agreement with the Extension Foundation in partnership with the ECOP Health Program Action Team.
Extension Foundation Role
On behalf of the Cooperative Extension System, the Extension Foundation serves as Principal Investigator, provides grants administration, fiscal, operational, and technological services, system-wide communication, innovation processes, wrap-around services for projects, data collection and dashboards, and partnership development for the EXCITE Program.