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Hawaii Health Department to receive $14M for public health programs

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The Hawaii Department of Health will receive $14.4 million in federal funding to improve public health infrastructure throughout the state, according to U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Hirono said the funding is part of the newly developed Public Health Infrastructure Grant Program, which is supported in part by the American Rescue Plan.

The grant, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides funds directly to state and local health departments to support investments in the public health workforce, infrastructure, and data modernization.

The funds are to be used for recruiting, retaining, supporting, and training the public health workforce; to strengthen the systems, processes, and policies of public health infrastructure; and to deploy scalable, flexible and sustainable technologies for public health.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our families, communities, and health care workers in Hawaii felt the devastating consequences of a historically underfunded, understaffed, and under resourced public health system,” said Hirono in a news release. “Democrats in Congress passed the American Rescue Plan to not only help our communities respond to and recover from COVID-19, but to strengthen our nation’s public health infrastructure and better protect the populations they serve. These critical investments will help keep our communities safer now and ensure Hawaii is better prepared for future health crises.”

Cathy Ross, deputy director of DOH, said the COVID-19 pandemic cast a spotlight on the importance of public health — a system that is chronically underfunded and resource constrained.

“This new federal funding will help the Department build stronger, more resilient public health infrastructure in Hawaii through investments in workforce, technology, core systems, and health equity,” she said in the news release. “These investments will support healthier communities across the state.”

CDC will award a total of $3.2 billion to 107 public health departments throughout the U.S., with $3 billion of the total coming from the American Rescue Plan.

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