“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 ,” Landers said. “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.” Landers said it was too early to release the names and dollar amounts of funding recipients within the state. The CDC says this grant program is the agency’s largest ever initiative to improve health equity in the United States.
Landers said the department focused its application for the grant on improving data collection and reporting for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and to “build, leverage and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19 prevention and control among populations that are at higher risk and underserved.” “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,” Dr. Karen Landers of the ADPH said via email.
That includes testing, community health centers, boosting telehealth systems, and improving the state’s ability to monitor data relating to the pandemic. Some of the funds will also be used to remove barriers to vaccinations and to improve vaccination rates, Landers said. Alabama will receive $40,452,096 over two years.
The CDC initiative is funded through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Source Landers said the CDC likely considered Alabama’s health rankings and the percentage of the population living in rural areas when allocating the funds.
The CDC awarded funds to all 50 states and several local or county public health agencies, but Alabama received the third highest total amount, with only Mississippi and Oklahoma receiving more. The lowest state grant went to Connecticut, which received $17.4 million. “These grants demonstrate our steadfast commitment to keeping equity at the center of everything we do,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a news release. “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.”
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