Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Monkeypox Awareness and Advocacy Campaign

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

August 15, 2022







The infectious outbreak of monkeypox has become another public health emergency across the United States, and New York is at the epicenter once again.

Early response to monkeypox has been flawed, with vaccines in short supply and highly rationed. Under current rules, patient treatment for monkeypox is an arduous and bureaucratic process, and health care workers are still not eligible for the vaccine, resulting in further strains. Although New York State and New York City have declared local emergencies, a coordinated federal, State, and City response is lagging as case numbers continue to rise. It is imperative that trusted organizations take quick action to combat and contain this outbreak. Callen-Lorde is a federally qualified health center and a leader in LGBTQ+ health care—it has treated one in five monkeypox cases in New York City to date. In 2022, NYHealth awarded Callen-Lorde a grant to help address the monkeypox public health emergency in New York City.

Under this grant, Callen-Lorde conducted community outreach and education to ensure New Yorkers most at risk—including LGBTQ+ communities and minority communities hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic—understood their risks and were able to access monkeypox vaccines, testing, and treatments. Callen-Lorde refined and redeployed the messaging and communication strategies it used during the Covid-19 pandemic to increase awareness and access to monkeypox information. It developed and shared content such as videos, infographics, patient education materials, resource lists, and advocacy action alerts. Additionally, social media channels were used to reach those most at-risk, and digital toolkits helped to serve as a blueprint for other organizations to follow. Callen-Lorde expanded its advocacy efforts for a more robust and equitable response by spotlighting key actions and building on its relationships with other health care nonprofits, New York policymakers, and leaders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also continued to share accurate information about monkeypox with the media.