Preparing for the upcoming Community Transformation Grants

As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (section 4201), the federal government instituted Community Transformation Grants, to be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This innovative program is designed to “help local communities address racial and ethnic health disparities and reduce chronic diseases by promoting healthy living and tackling the social and economic causes of poor health.” State and local agencies, state or local nonprofits, national networks of community-based organizations, and Indian tribes may apply for grants. Applicants must devise a plan that lays out changes in policies, programs, environment and infrastructure. Specific activities suggested in the law include increasing access to nutritious foods, creating healthier school environments, encouraging physical activity, improving community safety, expanding worksite wellness programs and reducing health disparities. Grants are expected to fund innovative projects that involve broad coalitions of stakeholders in communities across the U.S.  Twenty percent of the grants were initially reserved for rural and frontier areas.

Although the program was supposed to run from 2010-14, it wasn’t until February 2011 that federal officials finally announced that $145 million would be distributed this year in the first of what is designed to be a multi-year initiative. This FY11 allocation is part of the $750M Prevention Fund in the Affordable Care Act. However, Republicans in Congress are proposing cuts to all aspects of the ACA. Rumors indicate that CTGs will focus only on the largest urban areas. Many organizations are attempting letter-writing campaigns to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, encouraging people to share success stories of improved health outcomes from previous Prevention Fund investments in small, mid-sized, and rural communities. Examples of such letters abound, including an open letter from the President and CEO of the YMCA together with the heads of several other prominent national organizations.

A funding opportunity has not yet been released.

 

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