The health literacy field was front page news this week, as the Biden Administration announced an effort to invest $250 million to encourage COVID-19 safety and vaccination among underserved populations through health literacy grants.
This new initiative is called Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19.
Vice President Kamala Harris made the announcement during her remarks to the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference. In the video, she states: “Today we have a big announcement, and we’re actually making it right here with you, because these are the communities you serve.”
Watch the moment VP Harris makes the announcement, from The White House youtube channel:
This IS a big announcement. More information came from the HHS.gov press release:
Biden Administration to Invest $250 Million in Effort to Encourage COVID-19 Safety and Vaccination Among Underserved Populations
HHS Office of Minority Health Will Offer Localities Funding to Partner with Community Organizations to Connect Minority, Underserved Populations with Vital Services, Promote Pandemic Safety Measures
As part of President Biden’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness today, the Administration is announcing an effort to invest $250 million to encourage COVID-19 safety and vaccination among underserved populations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) will offer the funding as health literacy grants to localities, who will partner with community-based organizations, to reach racial and ethnic minority, rural and other vulnerable populations. The new initiative – Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19 – is expected to fund approximately 30 projects in urban communities and 43 projects in rural communities for two years.
The press release continues with some information well known to the health literacy community:
“Racial and ethnic minority populations experience higher rates of cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Social determinants of health, such as housing, education and work conditions, contribute to these disparities. Underlying chronic conditions, such as kidney disease, diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent among minority populations and increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.”
Among other things, recipients are expected to be “partnering with community-based organizations and adhering to culturally and linguistically appropriate standards, to increase the availability, acceptability and use of COVID-19 public health information and services by racial and ethnic minority populations and others considered vulnerable for not receiving and using COVID-19 public health information.”
Applicant eligibility is limited to local municipalities, such as County or Parish Governments, and City or township governments, according to the Grants Notice.
OMH will be accepting applications for this new initiative through April 20, 2021.
HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health is offering a Technical Assistance Webinar on March 17, 2021 at 5EST. Information available here.
The CDC also joined in the excitement, sending a broadcast email about their updated Federally Funded Research page, available here.
If you are an eligible applicant, Health Communication Partners is happy to partner with you to offer multi-layered health literacy expertise. Simply fill out the contact form below.