Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type



People of color are suffering and dying from COVID-19 at greater rates than the general population. Additionally, population-level health interventions can worsen health disparities by failing to reach already underserved populations. In response, PrepareSTL, a collaborative, community-led campaign, aims to reach communities of color in St. Louis with accessible information and resources to stop the spread of the coronavirus among the target audiences and help these communities survive the virus’s adverse social and economic impacts. This study (1) analyzes factors contributing to the success of PrepareSTL as a community-led and equity-centered response to COVID-19 and (2) identifies lessons from the campaign that could apply to other public health initiatives. Semi-structured qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted with thirty-five individuals, including campaign volunteers, canvassers, organizers, and executive leaders. Through a combination of content and narrative analysis, the research team identified several key strategies that led to the success of the campaign. These methods included pairing broad media messaging with personal outreach, engaging community champions as campaign messengers, centering relationships and trusting Black and Brown leadership at all campaign levels, and creating a highly responsive, community-driven management structure. Combined, these factors allowed the campaign to not only respond to urgent COVID-19-related needs, but also to build community outreach infrastructure to address ongoing needs for communities of color in the St. Louis region.