HHS awards nearly $100 million in grants for public health and prevention priorities
Posted Sep 23 2010 10:01pm
The Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund grants will support state and community efforts to fight obesity, increase HIV testing, promote tobacco quit lines, expand mental health and substance abuse programs and track, monitor and respond to disease outbreaks
Six months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlighted another important facet of the law today with the announcement of nearly $100 million in grants made possible primarily by the new law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. The grants will support a variety of critical public health programs in states and local communities; everything from tobacco quit lines to HIV testing to programs that help address and tackle substance abuse and mental health issues.
“This investment in prevention and public health will pay enormous dividends both today and in the future,” said Sebelius. “In order to strengthen our health care system, we need to stop just focusing solely on sick care and start focusing more on proven evidence-based ways to keep people healthy in the first place. These grants made possible by the Affordable Care Act will support programs across the country that will make Americans healthier. From providing tools to help people stop smoking to new HIV testing and prevention programs to a critical investment in mental health, these Affordable Care Act prevention grants will help people get what they need to stay healthy and live longer.”
Grants being announced today represent proven programs run by divisions and centers across the Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly $68 million worth of the grants will go to fund key state and local public health programs supported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another $26.2 million worth of grants will go to state and community substance abuse and mental health programs from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). One grant from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) will go toward launching the Healthy Weight Collaborative at the Prevention Center for Healthy Weight.
CDC Grants -$67.7 Million
$21.6 million to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and testing
CDC announced awards of approximately $21.6 million to expand HIV prevention efforts under the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The funding, allocated to CDC by the President as part of NHAS, will help to further focus HIV prevention on high risk populations and communities, as well as fill critical gaps in data, knowledge and understanding of the epidemic.
“The National HIV/AIDS Strategy gives us an opportunity to redefine our nation’s approach to HIV prevention, and can help us take our collective efforts to the next level,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “We are pleased that this funding will allow those of us working in HIV prevention at the federal, state, and local level to support innovative, evidence-based and high-impact prevention efforts in line with recommendations from the strategy.”
The majority of the grants ($11.6 million) will support demonstration projects to identify and implement a “combination approach” to enhance effective HIV prevention programming in 12 hard-hit areas across the country. These efforts will determine what mix of HIV prevention approaches can have the greatest impact in the local area, supplementing existing programs in these communities and helping jurisdictions to better focus efforts on key at-risk populations and fulfill unmet needs.
Of the $21.6 million announced today, $10 million was awarded last week. Approximately $4.4 million went to 30 state and local health departments to increase HIV testing opportunities for populations disproportionately affected by HIV and help link HIV-infected persons with appropriate services. Another $5.6 million went to 46 state and local health departments to improve the reporting of HIV data. These grants were officially awarded last week.
$3.8 million in support of tobacco prevention and control
State supplemental funding for healthy communities totaling $3.8 million is being divided among 46 locations. The funds will be used to help states implement plans to reduce tobacco use through regulatory and educational arenas, as well as enhance and expand the national network of tobacco cessation quit lines to significantly increase the number of tobacco users who quit. This funding is possible under the new Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.
“One of the most important steps to improve our Nation’s health is to reduce tobacco use, which remains at unacceptably high levels,” said Ursula Bauer, Ph.D., MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “These awards will strengthen the abilities of states, the District of Columbia, and eligible U.S. territories to mount effective programs and policies that will increase the number of people who quit using tobacco.”
More information about these and other tobacco control efforts are available at www.smokefree.gov and more information about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available at www.cdc.gov/tobacco .
$26.4 million to strengthen epidemiology, laboratory and health information systems capacity
CDC is providing $26.4 million to increase epidemiology, laboratory and health information systems capacity at health departments in all 50 states, two territories and the six largest local jurisdictions. The awards will support:
Hiring and training of epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, and health information specialists who can work on multiple infectious diseases.
Increasing the number of modern, well-equipped public health laboratories using electronic laboratory information systems to manage and exchange information effectively between labs and public health departments
Developing capacity for public health departments to participate in meaningful use of electronic health records, e.g. through implementation of electronic laboratory-based reporting according to national standards.
“With this funding, health departments can better respond to disease outbreaks, monitor trends and evaluate the impact of interventions, such as vaccinations or infection control practices, to improve the public’s health,” said Dr. Beth Bell, director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “In addition, the investments in information systems will put health departments in a better position to engage effectively in this modern era of health information exchange and evolving electronic health records.”
The funding, which is provided through Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) and the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) cooperative agreements, includes $18.9 million from the new Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act and an additional $7.5 million from CDC’s annual base appropriations.
$6.8 Million for Capacity Building Assistance to Strengthen Public Health Infrastructure and Performance
Approximately $6.8 million is being awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to eight national, non-profit professional public health organizations to support efforts by state, tribal, local and territorial health departments to ensure successful adoption of effective practices that strengthen core public health infrastructure investments. This funding is made possible through the new Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.
These national public health organizations will provide technical assistance, training, and information for health departments to improve their public health infrastructure and the delivery of public health services.
“These non-profit public health organizations will contribute to important improvements in public health by ensuring that our nation’s public health departments have many of the tools they need to more effectively and efficiently detect and respond to public health problems,” said Dr. Judith A. Monroe, CDC’s deputy director for state, tribal, local and territorial support. “This program will strengthen the nation’s public health system and our ability to improve the health and well being of all Americans.” For more information, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/ostlts .
$9.3 million in support of obesity biometric efforts
Six communities - all of which were part of the original 44 Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) communities funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will divide $9.3 million in support of obesity efforts to examine change in community-level variables (such as change in use of cafeteria foods), and body mass index and related biometric measures.
“These new evaluation funds will help our country identify effective and promising obesity prevention strategies. This funding will evaluate community-level obesity prevention initiatives aimed at creating healthy environments that promote nutrition and physical activity in the places where adults and children work, eat, study and play,” said Dr. Rebecca Bunnell, the program director for the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative at CDC. “Preventing obesity is critical for our nation’s future and we need to make sure we are investing every obesity prevention dollar wisely.”
SAMHSA GRANTS – More than$26.2 Million to Expand Primary Care to Individuals with Behavioral Health Disorders
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at HHS awarded more than $26.2 million in grants to support and promote better primary care and behavioral health services for individuals with mental illnesses or substance use disorders. The grants, which are funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, seek to improve health by improving the coordination of healthcare services delivered in publicly funded community mental health and other community-based behavioral health settings.
The grants include $20.9 million to help 43 community behavioral health agencies integrate primary care into their services. The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Washington DC, will receive the remaining $5.3 million in grant funds to establish a national resource center dedicated to integrating primary and behavioral health care.
“These awards represent a long overdue investment in the health of some of our most vulnerable populations, “said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “The long-established split between “mental” and “physical” health is not justified in research and should not be perpetuated in health care. These grants are part of an unprecedented push by the Affordable Care Act to help prevent and reduce chronic disease and promote wellness by treating behavioral health needs with equality to other health conditions.”
More information about SAMHSA efforts is available at www.samhsa.gov .
HRSA GRANT - $5 Million to Address Obesity
HRSA has awarded $5 million in funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act to the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) in Boston to create and manage a new Prevention Center for Healthy Weight to address obesity in children and families. The center will launch the Healthy Weight Collaborative to share evidence-based and promising community-based and clinical interventions in preventing and treating obesity.
“The Prevention Center for Healthy Weight will play a key role in identifying collaborative strategies for addressing and reducing obesity – an alarming and growing public health problem,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.
More information about HRSA efforts is available at www.hrsa.gov . More information about the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality is available at www.nichq.org .