FORHP Announcements – March 18

New CDC Funding for COVID-19 Targets Underserved Communities. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a non-competitive grant program, “National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities.” The program provides funding to improve testing capabilities and other COVID-19 response purposes. Grants will go to state, local, US territorial, and freely associated state health departments.

Information Requested: NIH Improving the Mental Health of Rural People – April 15. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks input on how the National Institute of Mental Health might learn about and remedy research gaps in knowledge to address mental health disparities in rural people and communities.

Learn More About Changes to the Federal Definitions of Rural. This recording of a webinar hosted by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health explores the recent changes to the rural definition that the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) uses to determine eligibility for grants. The recording also includes discussion of proposed changes to designations set by the Census Bureau and by the Office of Management and Budget (e.g., Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Urbanized Areas) and how those relate to FORHP’s definition. The deadline to submit a comment about these changes was Friday, March 19.

COVID-19 Resources from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The agency that assists local transit authorities includes several rural examples in its list of initiatives across the country to get residents to vaccination sites. FTA’s National Center for Mobility Management also has a webinar series specific to pandemic efforts and other resources for planning transit.

CRS Report on the Digital Divide in the U.S. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides objective policy and legal analysis to committees and members of the U.S. House and Senate. This report describes the availability of broadband internet by state and across urban, rural, and tribal areas.