Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

August 5, 2021

HHS Sends More Aid for SUD and Maternal Care in Rural CommunitiesThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) awarded nearly $90 million for programs addressing substance use disorder (SUD), and to improve access to maternal and obstetrics care. 

CDC and OMH Launch Minority Health Social Vulnerability IndexA new interactive tool helps public health officials plan their support in communities before, during, and after a public health emergency.  Social vulnerability refers to a number of factors, including poverty, lack of access to transportation, and crowded housing that may cause excessive human suffering and financial loss in a disaster.  With this map, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use county-level data from the U.S. Census and other public sources to show percentiles for socioeconomic status, minority status and language, and housing types, among other social variables. The mapping also includes rates for medical vulnerabilities that are prominent in rural areas such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.  According to recent work from the Rural Health Research Gateway, approximately 1 in 5 rural residents identifies as Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, or mixed race.  The Social Vulnerability Index was launched in July [pdf] by the HHS Office of Minority Health in partnership with the CDC.  Last week, the CDC released data showing a higher percentage of poor health among adults in rural areas

Federal Agencies’ Investment in Rural Cancer Control.  The latest edition of The Rural Monitor gives an in-depth look at a federally funded network of academic, public health, and community partners across the country who collaborate to reduce cancer disparities.  The work began in 2018 when the National Cancer Institute joined with HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Rural Health Council for the Accelerating Rural Cancer Control Research meeting.