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$1.8 million grant targeted to support community-based COVID-19 response in vulnerable communities

September 15th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced a three-year, $1.8 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to strengthen community-based COVID-19 response in three underserved jurisdictions. The award provides $600,00 annually in financial support and technical assistance for MDH community health workers in Allegany, Dorchester and Somerset counties.

"Community health workers are on the frontline in our fight against COVID-19 and are trusted by the members of the communities they serve," said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “This CDC grant will help us further reach into vulnerable communities and address COVID-19 needs."

The award supports the CDC’s Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities initiative, which focuses on three main goals: increased training of community health workers to support public health response to manage outbreaks and prevent community spread; deployment of community health workers to support priority populations and jurisdictions; and engagement of health workers in grassroots efforts to improve overall health and resiliency in vulnerable communities.

The MDH Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control will administer the grant and will build upon Maryland’s current Community Health Worker program to establish both COVID-19 and health equity specialty trainings. The Center will also collaborate with multiple internal and external partners to provide guidance on training curricula and access to skill-based training, in addition to providing connections to health care settings for increased referrals.

“Community health workers play a key role in our continuing efforts to address health disparities,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made their connection to our community and health resources more important than ever.”

Funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, MDH was one of 69 organizations nationwide to receive funding under the initiative.