Town of Fort Deposit Awarded $2.9 million to Fight COVID-19 and Improve Health Literacy

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Article submitted by The Town of Ft. Deposit

Ft. Deposit, AL- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) has announced an award of $2,992,292.00 to the Town of Ft. Deposit, Alabama as a part of a $250 million two-year initiative to identify and implement best practices for improving health literacy to enhance COVID-19 vaccination and other mitigation practices among underserved populations. The Advancing Health Literacy (AHL) to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19 initiative is part of the Biden/Harris Administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.

“The Advancing Health Literacy initiative is a vital part of the HHS efforts to help communities hardest hit by the pandemic access and understand COVID-related information,” said Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Rachel L. Levine, M.D. “This funding, and the partnerships with local and community entities across the country, will help our national efforts to continue to tackle health disparities surrounding COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment.”

Health literacy is a person’s ability to find, understand and use information and services to help them make health-related decisions for themselves and others. Health literacy is a central focus of the Healthy People 2030 blueprint for improving the health of the nation, which is sponsored by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Healthy People 2030 has elevated health literacy within one of its overarching goals: Eliminate health disparities, achieve health equity, and attain health literacy to improve the health and well-being of all.

“COVID-19 highlights the importance of health literacy, of understanding public health measures and taking steps to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, RADM Felicia Collins, M.D. “Our new health literacy initiative will help local governments enhance their health literacy efforts to reduce COVID-related disparities within racial and ethnic minority populations and other vulnerable communities.”

Over the next two years, Fort Deposit Mayor Jacqulyn Boone along with Dr. Sharlene D. Newman, director of the Alabama Life Research Institute at the University of Alabama will lead a collaborative effort between the towns of Fort Deposit, Clayton, Hobson City, Linden and York to support this health initiative. The Alabama Conference of Black Mayors and Acclinate, Inc. have also aligned with this partnership to facilitate efforts with local community-based organizations to develop health literacy plans that will increase the availability, acceptability, and use of COVID-19 public health information and services by racial and ethnic minority populations. The projects will also focus on other populations considered vulnerable for not receiving and using COVID-19 public health information. The project goals are to leverage local data to identify racial and ethnic minority populations at the highest risk for health disparities and low health literacy, as well as populations not currently reached through existing public health campaigns.

For more information about OMH, visit http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov.

All rights reserved, Gumptown Magazine. Copyright 2021.

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