By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – On Wednesday, November 16, the New Jersey State Health Department announced its $116.5 million investment grant to help support both physical and technological public health infrastructure across New Jersey. The news comes after seeing how significant it is for the government to invest in public health by helping states identify, address, and respond to public health crises, especially after the pandemic.
“This investment will strengthen our public health infrastructure by making us more resilient and prepared to meet the challenges facing New Jersey both today and in the future,” said Governor Phil Murphy.
One of the many grants, Enhancing Local Public Health Infrastructure Partner Organization, which accounts for $75 million, was awarded to the New Jersey Association of City and County Health Officials (NJACCHO). The grant was made possible through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) funding. The ELC funds and provides funding and technical assistance to state, local, and territorial health departments to implement and maintain surveillance for human diseases and their vectors, improve diagnostics, and evaluate prevention strategies.
The Enhancing Local Public Health Infrastructure Partner Organization will direct grants to suitable counties and municipal and regional local health departments (LHDs) across the state. This money aims to support the development or expansion of long-term health infrastructure improvements, emphasizing health equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
These counties will receive a grant based on a specific funding allocation formula that looks for the population served and greatest need. These counties, once selected, may select any of the following goals to address in their grants application to NJACCHO:
● Increase health equity for disproportionately affected populations;
● Streamline processes supported by technology and automation;
● Strengthen organizational capacity to drive progress on public health priorities and increase capacity across LHDs;
● Expand data collection and infrastructure to drive data-driven decision-making to improve equity;
● Develop multilingual, culturally-appropriate communications/public health campaigns and share across LHDs;
● Codify institutional knowledge and COVID-specific lessons learned; or
● Enhance and/or continue ongoing COVID-19/communicable disease mitigation efforts.
The County Health Infrastructure Grant Program plans to provide $41.5 million for direct support to the state’s 21 county health departments. The program pushes to continue efforts in acknowledging and responding to complex public health emergencies, like COVID-19 and monkeypox, emerging local needs, and other key public health priorities. All funds come from the federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund established according to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The County Health Infrastructure Grant Program funding can be used to invest in physical or technological infrastructure or to aid workforces to prepare for future public health threats and are all based on the Census Bureau’s 2021 Population Estimates. County health departments are encouraged to collaborate with local health departments and other partners and share services as necessary to serve vulnerable communities and minimize health disparities.
To find more about the specific amount of money allocated to each county, click here.
“As New Jersey’s most diverse county, equity and inclusion remain a major focus for healthcare development planners here and we appreciate that this funding reflects that concern. As we all learned in 2020, planning is key to effective public health response,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.
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