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    ​​Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant to Maryland Department of Health

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant to Maryland Department of Health

    National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities

    Federal Funding Amount: $21,211,178

    Rural carve out: $1,160, 221

    Project Period: June 1, 2021- May 31, 2024

    Goals: The intended outcomes of this funding opportunity are to 

    1. Reduce COVID-19-related health disparities

    2. Improve and increase testing and contact tracing among populations at higher risk and that are underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities

    3. Improve state, local, US territorial, and freely associated state health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection (or transmission) among populations at higher risk and that are underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities​​

    The Maryland Department of Health is working towards these goals through collaboration across the Department, implementing various activities described below. Please feel free to reach out to Program Manager, Gabrielle Nichols, with any questions at gabrielle.nichols@maryland.gov

    Description of Services: A summary overview of MDH’s plan in alignment with the CDC strategies is outlined below. (Activities are subject to changes) 

    1. Increase/improve data collection and reporting for populations experiencing a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Build on existing statewide data exchange through the state-designated health information exchange (HIE) by adding clinical, demographic, social, and quality data extraction from provider EMRs. Analyze and use the data to provide dashboards to providers and public health officials to visualize patient and community-level disparities to inform and guide programs, policies, and patient interventions, including support needed for contact tracing, testing, and vaccinations. This work aligns with the State Integrated Health Improvement Strategy under the Total Cost of Care Model which aims to reduce health disparities and improve outcomes with a focus on diabetes, opioids, maternal and child health, and other issues with clear racial and ethnic impacts.

    • Support implementation of tools to enhance social determinants of health (SDoH) data collection and referral process for populations most impacted by COVID-19 to enable improved connection with current community services and community-based organizations (CBO) directory sites (e.g. 211).

    • Provide leadership, education, and technical assistance to providers, CBOs, local health departments, and social service agencies to optimize the use of information provided by the statewide SDoH data program to identify and address health disparities.

    1. Build, leverage, and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19 prevention and control among populations that are at higher risk and underserved.

    • Increase the Capacity of the Community Health Worker Workforce through investments in Recruitment, Training Availability, and Culturally Appropriate Services

    • Improve understanding of the healthcare workforce across Maryland to support current and future training, recruitment, and retention programs to improve healthcare access and health outcomes for high-risk and underserved populations.

    • Implement the Maryland Rural Health Infrastructure Initiative in partnership with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), supporting a community-based workforce and training to improve uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and other evidence-based practices to prevent and treat COVID-19, while maintaining an emphasis on building rural health capacity for the future.

    • Enhance LHD capacity and implementation to address COVID-19 related health disparities and partnerships with organizations focusing on outlying and/or hesitant populations.
    1. Mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19 health disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved.

    • Facilitate Community Based Organization (CBO) representing underserved and increased risk populations in their efforts to address COVID-19 related health disparities.

    • Partner with training organization(s) to provide technical assistance to support CBOs and LHDs in sustainably addressing COVID-19 health disparities.