Layra Navarro-Flores, MPH 2020 graduate, is passionate about helping the local Latinx community. Layra knew that the undocumented Latinx populations would be disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and sought out opportunities to partner with local organizations to address these disparities and the needs of this population.

To accomplish her goals, Layra partnered with Bridge City Community Church and Tennessee United to disseminate vital information to the undocumented Latinx community as part of her  Integrative Learning Experience (ILE)the culminating project for her MPH program of study. Shortly after the pandemic hit Tennessee, the team worked together to create a no-contact canvassing event to disseminate information released by the Chattanooga’s COVID-19 Task force. The undocumented Latinx population are significantly affected, as they are not eligible to receive stimulus payments or enroll in any type of government assistance service programs (i.e. unemployment, SNAP).

The information disseminated into the community informed residents about COVID-19 health precautions, educational resources for students (i.e. free tutoring, printing services), and community updates regarding utility payments, as well as immigrant-accepting COVID-19 assistance relief services available in the community. The no-contact canvassing event revealed high levels of food insecurity among undocumented community members, which led to a food distribution program operated out of Bridge City Community Church.

Ultimately, Layra’s ILE project served to close the gap in knowledge and access to resources for the undocumented Latinx community of Chattanooga.