RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health and Institute for Public Health Innovation was awarded $4.3 million in grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The department of health will put the funding towards increasing the response and recovery work done by community health workers.
The grant will help with COVID-19 related services including testing, vaccination and quarantine response. It will also help with other services that have become more crucial throughout the pandemic including mental health care, housing services and food assistance.
The CDC grant is called Community Health Workers for a Healthy Virginia and the money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020. The Institute for Public Health Innovation applied for the grant program on behalf of the VDH.
The grant will help expand the role of front-line health care workers who have a stake in their communities. According to the VDH release, community health workers are considered to be health care professionals who are “trusted members of and/or have an unusually close understanding of the communities they serve.”
In order to support these types of workers funding will go to community-based organizations, health care providers, local health departments, and other partners. Money will also go to the Institute for Public Health Innovation to help with the training of community health workers and provide technical assistance.
Now that the money has been awarded it will specifically be used in areas with high rates of COVID-19. According to a VDH release, that includes the Richmond metro region, Norfolk, Portsmouth, the Danville area and the Southwest Virginia communities served by the Mount Rogers Health District.