New funding to help eight states of the Delta region address chronic health diseases was announced today by Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Up to $5.6 million in the first year will focus on managing three health risks—diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity—that disproportionately affect the Delta region.
Administered by the Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) at HRSA, the Delta States Rural Development Network Grant Program requires local health providers to work together across counties and parishes to implement programs targeting these chronic diseases. The programs will focus on strengthening the knowledge people of the Delta region have about health risk and disease management.
“Collaboration and coordination among local and regional health providers are keys to reversing health trends in the Delta region,” said Administrator Wakefield. “We know from experience that when it comes to rural areas, greater outcomes are achieved when providers work together in networks.”
The funding is part of a collaboration with the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), a federal-state partnership formed to improve the economy in the eight-state Delta region. Grant applicants are eligible to simultaneously compete for supplemental funds from the DRA through its Healthy Workforce Challenge.
“A healthy Delta workforce is vitally important to the strength of the Delta Region, “said Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Christopher Masingill. “That contributes to a stronger economy and a stronger America. This announcement to support investments that address chronic health diseases is exactly what Delta families need and continues the White House's commitment to growing and investing in the nation's rural communities.”
The grants from ORHP and DRA align with the goals of the White House Rural Council, initiated by President Obama in 2011 to better meet the needs of rural communities through collaboration between federal agencies.
Housed within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Office of Rural Health Policy advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on policies impacting rural health and works with state and local partners to enhance delivery of services to 50 million residents living in rural communities.
The Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership, is congressionally mandated to identify and provide economic development investments to the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA funds regional initiatives with the guiding principal to build communities and improve lives in the Delta region.