State, Local Agencies Can Apply for $100 Million in Grants to Combat Chronic Diseases

Projects Intended to Promote Health, Reduce Disparities, Lower Costs

May 23, 2011 05:05 pm News Staff

Seven of every 10 deaths in the United States stem from chronic disease, according to HHS, and treating patients with those chronic diseases accounts for more than 75 percent of the nation's annual health care expenditures.

As part of the federal government's effort to reduce chronic diseases and rein in health care costs, HHS has announced it will award more than $100 million( in grants to as many as 75 communities by the end of the summer. State and local nonprofit organizations -- such as community hospitals, tribal agencies, and, potentially, AAFP constituent chapters and/or their foundations -- are among those eligible to apply for the five-year Community Transformation Grants.

Applications are due July 15.

George Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association, said during a May 13 conference call announcing the grants that the funds awarded are expected to allow communities to promote prevention and address the root causes of disease rather than reacting after health problems develop.

"These grants are an enormous opportunity to do things differently," he said.

The grants will fund activities focused on one of the five following priorities:

  • reducing tobacco use,
  • promoting active living and healthy eating,
  • increasing the use of preventive services,
  • fostering social and emotional wellness, and
  • developing healthy and safe physical environments.

The program will have two levels of funding. Ursula Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said during the conference call that "capacity building grants" of as much as $500,000 a year will be awarded to selected applicants that have limited experience with implementing policy, environmental, programmatic and infrastructure changes. Implementation grants worth as much as several million dollars a year will go to more qualified applicants that are ready to implement such changes, Bauer said.

HHS said in a news release that successful applicants must use evidence-based strategies, ensure their activities have a broad population impact and address health disparities. At least 20 percent of funding will be directed to rural areas, said the agency.