(The Center Square) — The feds are sending roughly $100 million to the Georgia Department of Public Health to help it bolster its health infrastructure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded the DPH $99.8 million over a five-year period for “strengthening public health infrastructure, work force and data systems,” Nancy Nydam, a DPH spokeswoman, told The Center Square. The agency will receive nearly $83.7 million in the first year, and the remaining $16.1 million will be awarded over five years.
The CDC announced it awarded the DPH nearly $105.2 million. However, more than $5.3 million is “unfunded,” Nydam said.
“At this time, specifics of how the funding will be distributed to the districts are still being discussed,” Nydam added.
The money is part of $3.2 billion the agency is doling out to state and local governments to strengthen their public health infrastructure and workforces.
“State, local, and territorial health departments are the heart of the U.S. public health system, and the COVID-19 pandemic severely stressed these agencies, which were already weakened by neglect and underinvestment,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in an announcement. “This grant gives these agencies critical funding and flexibility to build and reinforce the nation’s public health workforce and infrastructure, and protect the populations they serve.”
To fund the initiative, the feds pulled the bulk of the money — $3 billion — from the American Rescue Plan, which President Joe Biden, a Democrat, signed into law in March 2021.
According to a release, the money will help improve “public health needs in communities that are economically or socially marginalized, rural communities, and communities with people from racial and ethnic minority groups.” The feds say the grants are grounded on three principles, including “diversity and health equity.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor