CDC grants Oklahoma $ 53 million to help eradicate the health disparities of COVID-19
Oklahoma health authorities receive more than $ 53 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help address health inequalities associated with COVID-19.
More than $ 43 million goes to the State Department of Health, approximately $ 3.7 million to the Oklahoma-City County Department of Health, and more than $ 5.9 million to the Tulsa Department of Health.
The grants were awarded as part of the CDC’s plan to invest $ 2.25 billion in equal opportunities health programs over a two-year period – the agency’s largest equity health opportunity investment to date
The pandemic highlighted long-standing health inequalities in the United States and had a disproportionate impact on communities of color as well as people living in rural areas.
In Oklahoma, where more than 8,500 people have died from COVID-19, Alaskan Indians and Native Americans have a higher COVID-19 death rate than any other race, and Hispanic people have seen higher case numbers. Rural Oklahomans have also died disproportionately from COVID-19 when compared to their urban counterparts.
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The Oklahoma City-County Department of Health plans to use the grant to hire eight additional community health workers whose goal will be to build trust in the health department among their fellow community health workers.
With this trust, community health workers can share important community health messages, said Cara Gluck, deputy chief operating officer and strategist.
Some of the funds from the state health ministry go to local health departments and other community providers.
The state also plans to use the funds to hire additional staff nationwide, including community health workers and social workers, and to improve the state’s data systems to collect and analyze information about populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
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There will also be partnerships with other organizations.
“These grants demonstrate our unwavering commitment to keep equity at the center of everything we do,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “You are an important step in our relentless efforts to raise the preparedness of our communities for public health emergencies – and to provide everyone in America with equal opportunities for health.”
Through the initiative – funded by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act – the CDC aims to help reduce COVID-19-related health gaps, improve testing and contact tracking among underserved populations, and help health officials across the country improve their ability to deal with COVID -19 infections to prevent.