The Clark County Health Department received one of three grants funded by the Kentucky Department for the Public Health’s Office of Health Equity.
The $4,000 grant was issued to support projects focusing on advancing health equity and eliminating healthy disparities. The grants run through June 30. Franklin County and the Northern Kentucky District health departments also received grants.
“The causes of health disparities and the barriers to good health and health care are multiple and overlapping,” Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield said. “These grant awards demonstrate the need for innovative approaches to erase the gaps observed in the healthy status of Kentuckians. We are excited to support the creative strategies designed by each of the local health departments.”
The DPH defines health equity as having the highest level of health for all people regardless of socio-economic divisions. According to the DPH, numerous disparities exist in the state, such as diabetes in theHispanic population and infant mortality among African-Americans. Clark County’s projects to promote physical activity and provide greater access to physical activity will benefit from the grant. In Franklin County, the money will help fund additional clinics to screen for sexually transmitted diseases among minorities. In northern Kentucky, it will support an outreach program to promote awareness and clinical services for Hispanic males.
“All three projects demonstrate an understanding of healthy disparities within the respective communities,
as well as a plan to effectively address these issues,” Vivian Lasley Bibbs, manager of the Health Equity Program for DPH, said. “In Kentucky, various health disparities affect a variety of populations from minority health issues to rural health issues. All three projects illustrate the diverse needs of our state, as well as the ability to effectively reach populations within communities that are under served and lack equitable access to care.”
Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP)/QI Coordinator Beth Willett wrote the grant request to address one of two areas of concern from the county’s assessment: the lack of physical activity and obesity.
“What you find with rural communities versus urban or even metropolitan areas, if you will, (is) there’s a health disparity because there’s a lack of access to physical activity,” Willett said.
The money might be spent to address the lack of sidewalk areas for walking and cycling in rural areas of Clark County, she said. Specifics on the money’s use haven’t been decided, she said.
Clark County Public Health Director Scott Lockard said the money gives the health department an opportunity to support individuals and improve access to physical activity.
“We realize it’s a small amount,” he said. “But we’re very excited to get it so we can raise awareness in our community about these issues and work with our active coalition, work with our parks and recreation department and work with our schools.”
The assessment is part of the health department’s effort to be accredited through the national Public Health Board. The Northern Kentucky and Franklin health departments were among the first 11 in the nation to earn the accreditation.
“We started down that road about a year ago,” Lockard said. “We’re working right now on our prerequisites. We have an accreditation team at our health department.”
Willett said the accreditation process is an important step “so we would be an accredited public health agency and ensure that quality health services are being delivered to the entire community.”
Willett also said that anyone looking to be involved with the grant, physical activity in rural areas or combating obesity and substance abuse could contact her at the health department.
Contact Casey Castle at firstname.lastname@example.org.