Health Disparities Grant

In June 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) was awarded $27 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat inequities related to COVID-19 infection, illness, and death. This includes $9 million dedicated to rural communities. The funding will last through June 1, 2023. To learn more, read the press release about this effort.

Current funding opportunities

Mobilizing Communities for a Just Response – due December 6, 2021, at 4 p.m. Eligibility: local and tribal health departments, and other governmental agencies, community-based organizations, rural communities. Check back for future funding opportunities related to this effort.

Over the next few months, DHS staff and partners will launch activities and open additional funding opportunities that include, but are not limited to:

  • Funding for Wisconsin tribes through a process where they can identify what they need to build community resilience against COVID-19.
  • Placing Community Health Workers (CHW) at local public health departments, health systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers, free and charitable clinics, aging and disability resource centers (ADRCs) serving rural areas, and other sites that can benefit from CHWs coordinating care for individuals.
  • Grants to community organizations and funding for community EMS initiatives to expand and integrate prevention efforts within the public health infrastructure.
  • Providing infection prevention resources to people and groups who are most at risk of COVID-19 infection in rural and urban areas.
  • Analyzing and disseminating data describing health disparities, or differences in health outcomes, in order to align resources to the greatest need(s).
  • Soliciting feedback directly from community to inform improvements to DHS services and programs, remove barriers, and address social determinants of health. This work can inform future pandemic/health crisis responses.

About the funding source

This funding is the CDC’s largest investment to date to support communities affected by COVID-19-related health disparities. It is part of $2.25 billion provided through the Public Law 116-260 Coronavirus Response & Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Its goal is to address COVID-19-related health disparities and advance health equity among populations that are at high-risk and underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural areas.

Background information

Data show that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected some populations and placed them at higher risk, including those who are medically underserved, racial and ethnic minority groups, and people living in rural communities. These groups may experience higher risk of exposure, infection, hospitalization, and mortality. In addition, evidence shows that racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities have disproportionate rates of chronic diseases that can increase the risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 and may also encounter barriers to testing, treatment, or vaccination.

The funding titled “National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities” was announced on March 17, 2021. This funding is the CDC’s largest investment to date to support communities affected by COVID-19-related health disparities. It is part of $2.25 billion over two years to address COVID-19-related health disparities and advance health equity among populations that are at high-risk and underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural areas.

Funding runs from June 1, 2021 to June 1, 2023. Funding for Wisconsin is $27,184,789, including a rural carveout of $9,332,492. Funding was received May 27, and is effective as of June 1. Retroactive expenses are allowable back to March 15 if directly related to the COVID-19 response. Division of Public Health staff worked hard to compile a list of activities that could actively address health disparities related to COVID-19 in our state.

To stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and move toward greater health equity, CDC continues to work with populations at higher risk, underserved, and disproportionately affected to ensure resources are available to maintain and manage physical and mental health, including easy access to information, affordable testing, and medical and mental health care. For more information and community resources read the CDC news release.

Follow us

For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. We encourage you to follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.

Last Revised: October 27, 2021