Campus News

Institute for Rural Journalism, KPA Receive ‘Healthy Together Through Vaccinations’ Grant From KAHP

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 23, 2021) — The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues (IRJCI), housed in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information, in partnership with the Kentucky Press Association (KPA), have received a “Healthy Together Through Vaccinations” grant from the Kentucky Association of Health Plans (KAHP) to increase vaccine acceptance in the state.

The institute and KPA are one of 27 winners awarded by KAHP, the trade association representing all carriers offering health coverage in Kentucky. The initiative aims to increase COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and access by empowering organizations across Kentucky with grants of up to $25,000 to pursue efforts toward improving vaccination rates through outreach, communication, education, training, transportation and/or support.

“For many months now, we have been partnering with various groups across the Commonwealth and have had a lot of success in our vaccination efforts,” said Tom Stephens, executive director of KAHP. “We applied some of what we learned in that programming to launch a broader grant initiative that we think is quite impactful because we are really leveraging local organizations who know their communities best. It’s great to see so many different populations served. We certainly aren’t letting up because vaccines are the best defense against hospitalization and death.”

According to Al Cross, IRJCI director, the grant will help facilitate getting special sections in Kentucky newspapers to educate readers on the importance of immunizations in general, focusing on counties with low COVID-19 vaccination rates.

“Community newspapers continue to reach a large percentage of Kentucky households, and national surveys show such papers enjoy a high level of trust among their readers,” Cross said.

UK Cooperative Extension Service is also supporting and partnering with IRJCI and KPA on the project. Natalie Jones, a UK extension specialist, has produced a story about vaccination that the team will offer to newspapers as the lead article for their special sections. Additional material will come from the institute’s Kentucky Health News and the community newspapers’ own reporting and photography.

Read more about the KAHP community grant program and other recipients here.

About Kentucky Association of Health Plans

Kentucky Association of Health Plans is the trade organization representing the Kentucky health insurance community. KAHP is a leader on issues that strengthen the accessibility, value and quality of health care in the Commonwealth. Members include Aetna, Anthem, CareSource, Humana, Passport Health Plan by Molina Healthcare, UnitedHealth Group and WellCare.

For more information visit: or follow @kyhealthplans on Twitter.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.