The CDC has awarded $3.2 billion in grants to local and territorial public health agencies to strengthen US public health infrastructure and rebuild the national public health workforce.[JAMA Network]
The agency awarded direct funding totaling $3.14 million to 107 public health departments in all 50 states, Washington, DC, 8 territories or freely associated states, and 48 large municipal public health departments. Together, the grantees serve every individual living in the US, according to a statement from the CDC.
“State, local, and territorial health departments are the heart of the US public health system, and the COVID-19 pandemic severely stressed these agencies, which were already weakened by neglect and underinvestment,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said in the statement.
The American Rescue Plan Act provided $3 billion for the grants, which is earmarked for public health departments to build and strengthen their frontline workforce. The funding will support initiatives to recruit, retain, and train a diverse workforce that includes epidemiologists, contact tracers, community health workers, and data analysts. The CDC awarded an additional $140 million in grants to improve public health infrastructure, including modernizing data infrastructure and making public health data more shareable between public health agencies.
The grants are flexible enough to allow grantees to customize their use to meet the specific needs of their communities. “We are meeting them where they are and trusting them to know what works best for their communities,” Walensky said in the statement.