National Health Disparities Strategy and Action Plan Unveiled

Written by

Daniel Dawes
Daniel Dawes Daniel E. Dawes, J.D. is a health care attorney and consultant in Washington, DC. During health reform negotiations, he worked closely with the White House and Congress, and founded and chaired the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform – a group comprising over 250 national organizations and coalitions - to ensure that health reform legislation included health equity provisions to reduce disparities in health status and health care among vulnerable populations.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently released a national roadmap to address and reduce disparities in health status and health care among racial and ethnic minorities. It also released a national strategy for engaging communities across the country to harness the collective power of collaboration in order to tackle these serious issues.

These two documents will play a critical role in guiding federal efforts around disparities elimination and the achievement of health equity. I encourage every health equity advocate to take the time to read these important resources. For more information, please visit:

Community Transformation Grants

Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have announced the much anticipated criteria to apply for Community Transformation Grants (CTGs)—a very important funding opportunity of approximately $100 million authorized under the Affordable Care Act designed to promote community-based approaches to achieving better health. It is very important that community-based organizations committed to health equity seriously consider applying for one of these grants. Time is of the essence so please act fast.

The CTGs purpose is to support the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base for effective prevention programming.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will support intensive community approaches to reduce risk factors responsible for the leading causes of death and disability and to prevent and control chronic diseases in the nation.

Applying for Community Transformation Grants

Key information can be found on:

Available Grant Types

There are two grant categories:  a capacity-building grant that allows organizations to plan an evidenced-based program to address community health, and a program implementation grant.  Capacity-building grantees may apply to transition to the implementation phase within the five-year cycle after meeting target requirements, which allows them a chance of receiving increased funding.

What do the grants have to address?

Grants must address all three of these elements:

  • Promotion of tobacco-free living
  • Active lifestyle and healthy eating
  • High-impact clinical preventive services (specifically, prevention of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels)

Applicants can also choose to address:

  • Emotional and social well-being
  • Healthy and safe communities

Who can apply?

  • State and local governments
  • State and community-based nonprofit organizations
  • Federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages
  • Tribal organizations, urban Indian health programs, and tribal and intertribal consortia

What is the expected award range for grantees?

  • Category A:  Capacity-building grants  
  • Category B:  Implementation grants
States, local governments, nonprofits:  $500,000–$10 million
Territories:  $100,000–$150,000 Tribal and American Indian/Alaska Native Consortia:  $100,000–$500,000

Community Health Workers

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an initiative to promote utilization of promotoras de salud or community health workers as a means of strengthening outreach and education on the availability of health services and insurance coverage to underserved Latino communities.

Promotores, who are sometimes known as community health workers, peer leaders, patient navigators or health advocates, typically work in their own communities to convey information to their neighbors and other community members on health and wellness, the availability of support services and access to health services.

The Affordable Care Act authorizes promotion of these community health workers to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate information and enrollment assistance to underserved populations. The HHS Action Plan for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities calls for increasing the use of promotoras to stimulate participation in health education, behavioral health education, prevention, and health insurance programs.

The federal work group guiding the initiative comprises representatives of the Office of the Secretary, Administration on Aging, Administration for Children and Families, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Health Reform (OHR), Office of Global Health Affairs.

Additional information about this exciting opportunity is forthcoming.

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