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CDC awards ADPH $40,452,096 to address COVID-19-related health disparities

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - CDC has awarded the Alabama Department of Public Health $40,452,096 to address COVID-19-related health disparities. The funding, part of a $2.25 billion nationwide investment, seeks to advance health equity by expanding health department capacity and services.

“These grants demonstrate our steadfast commitment to keeping equity at the center of everything we do,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “They are an important step in our unwavering efforts to strengthen our communities’ readiness for public health emergencies—and to helping everyone in America have equal opportunities for health.”

The intended outcomes of these grants are to 1) reduce COVID-19-related health disparities, 2) improve and increase testing and contact tracing among populations that are at higher risk and are underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities, and 3) improve state, local, US territorial, and freely associated state health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection.

“The pandemic has laid bare longstanding health inequities, and health departments are on the front line of efforts to address those inequities,” said José T. Montero, M.D., Director of CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support. “These grants will provide these health departments with much needed support to address disparities in communities that need it most.”

The state, local, and territorial health departments receiving the grants can be found here.

This initiative is funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, (P.L. 116-260).

The ADPH released a statement on the grant:

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s focus with the grant is to reduce the burden of COVID-19 among populations disproportionately affected and who are at higher risk of exposure, infection and hospitalization and mortality; as well as  focus on communities having disproportionate rates of chronic diseases that increase the severity of COVID-19. ADPH has considered the disability populations, the ARC region, the Black Belt region, as well as minority populations across the state.  With Alabama’s health rankings and the majority of the state being rural, we believe CDC figured this into the funding equation.

ADPH focused on two strategies in the CDC RFA:

1. Increase/Improve data collection and reporting for populations experiencing a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Build leverage, and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19 prevention and control among populations that are at higher risk and underserved.

During the response to the grant, ADPH worked with policy makers, community leaders, minority groups, the disability community, healthcare provider associations and other rural stakeholders to gather ideas and address activities outlined in the RFA. The grant incorporates a testing strategy, several community health worker models, telehealth, local health equity plans, collection of data that contextualize racial, ethnic and rural health data and improving this data collection and reporting as well as health equity planning on the local level.

Due to the premature status, ADPH can not release the names of the recipients as well as the dollar amounts.

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