Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Federal Funding for Public Health and Prevention Programming

Overview

The federal Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant provides critical funding to address public health needs, prevent diseases, and promote health in Wisconsin. In Federal Fiscal Year 2018, Wisconsin received approximately $3.2 million through this grant to fund public health programs statewide.

PHHS Block Grant funds enable Wisconsin to improve the infrastructure of the public health system through capacity building and direct support of public health partners, including Wisconsin’s 86 local health departments, 11 tribal health agencies, and other community partners. The PHHS Block Grant supports core service development in various areas and can augment limited categorical program funds at the state or local level. 

The PHHS Block Grant supports capacity building and core service development in various areas. Prevention funds and can augment limited categorical program funds at the state or local level.

Agencies in Wisconsin collaborate with community-based organizations, health care providers, schools, universities, and local and state government agencies to identify and implement evidence-d based interventions in their communities. Evaluation of efforts are measured and reported to their communities. Coalitions are developed and strategies to sustain efforts are identified.

The Division of Public Health (DPH) manages this federal program for Wisconsin and focuses infrastructure development activities in the following dimensions:

  • Modeling collaborative leadership and policy development.
  • Assuring fiscal and administrative integrity through monitoring of state and local public health programs and services.
  • Providing data, information, and epidemiological support to guide policy development.
  • Developing and enhancing partnerships.
  • Providing programmatic expertise through consultation, training, and technical assistance to partners.
  • Educating state, regional, and local partners concerning public health system development.
  • Assuring alignment between local community health improvement plans with the state health plan.

Wisconsin Programs

In 2018, Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant Funds supported voluntary accreditation for the state, local, and tribal health departments; addressed priority community health needs; and supported public health modernization through the implementation of the Public Health 3.0 model. The PHHS Block Grant also supported the state’s health plan, Healthy Wisconsin, through planning, implementing, and monitoring progress towards meeting statewide targets.

In 2018, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health became nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board. PHHS Block Grant funds helped the agency to meet and sustain accreditation standards in performance management, quality improvement, health system planning and assessment, supporting local and tribal public health, and workforce development.

A significant contribution to the public health system is supported through the PHHS Block Grant in the training, technical assistance, and capacity building of public health partners, including local and tribal agencies. In 2018, DPH staff supported agencies in developing local community health improvement processes and plans; establishing accreditation mentorship pairs; providing orientation and training sessions for public health employees, local health officers, and local boards of health; and providing extensive support in performance management, national public health performance standards, partnerships, facilitation, public health modernization, and other topics of need by local and tribal partners.

Direct support to partners includes allocated funding to local health departments and tribal health agencies through a consolidated contract. Local and tribal agencies identify a public health need in their jurisdiction, and then they negotiate an evidence-based intervention to be implemented with PHHS Block Grant funds.

In 2018, local and tribal health agencies implemented interventions to address the following Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 priorities: Access to High Quality Health Care, Alcohol and Other Drug Use, Environmental Health, Injury Prevention, Mental Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Oral Health, and Tobacco Control.

Additionally, PHHS Block Grant Funds were used to conduct community health improvement assessments and plans, and to implement national public health performance standards, which help health departments to prepare for voluntary accreditation. National public health performance standards include conducting self-assessment for accreditation readiness, identifying and improving tools for accreditation evidence, developing quality improvement programs, developing strategic plans and performance management plans, and developing and revising public health policies and procedures.​

Sexual Assault Prevention

A portion of the Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant is a federally mandated set-aside for sexual assault prevention and victim services programming. In 2018, Wisconsin sub-granted these funds to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA), whose mission is to create the social change necessary to end sexual violence. WCASA is a statewide organization created and incorporated in 1985 to support and complement the work of community-based sexual assault service providers and other organizations working to end sexual violence. WCASA is the state’s central clearinghouse on the issue of sexual violence and related topics. WCASA staff work statewide to address all facets of sexual violence, from public attitudes and awareness, to effective intervention and public policy.

In 2018, WCASA facilitated a critical link between public health and sexual assault service providers through education, outreach, and technical assistance to local and tribal health agencies; by providing a presentation at the new public health employee orientation session; and by establishing connections between local health departments and local service providers to improve prevention and services in local communities across Wisconsin.

Visit WCASA for more information.

Success Stories

Public Health Accreditation

In 2018, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health became a Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) accredited health department. Accreditation was supported with PHHS Block Grant funding through robust engagement of staff through coordination, evidence collection, training and technical assistance, and site visit preparation.

Accreditation provides validation of a vibrant, effective public health system as the standards address the array of public health functions set forth in the ten Essential Public Health Services. The standards also address a range of core public health programs and activities. Thus, public health department accreditation gives reasonable assurance of the range of public health services that a health department should provide. (Source: Public Health Accreditation Board Standards and Measures Version 1.0)

As of 2019, 17 local and tribal health departments in Wisconsin have also achieved national accreditation. The PHHS Block Grant supports accreditation efforts by local and tribal agencies through technical assistance provided by the state, peer mentorships, and direct funding to hire accreditation coordinators and consultants for site visit preparation.

Visit the Public Health Accreditation Board to learn more about national accreditation.

Performance Management and Quality Improvement

In 2018, the Wisconsin Division of Public health launched a performance management framework and platform in order to bolster data-driven decision making and to visualize the state health plan’s progress. DPH utilized PHHS Block Grant funds to train staff on Results-Based Accountability (RBA), a framework that helps communities identify actionable, data-driven solutions to complex problems. RBA starts with the end in mind by describing the ideal state, to which a “turn-the-curve” analysis is conducted in order to develop the process by which to reach that goal and how to measure progress.

In addition to training staff on RBA, DPH used PHHS Block Grant funds to invest in performance management software called Clear Impact. This software has helped demonstrate the impact of the Division’s work and the work of our partners through scorecards that visualize progress made. Public-facing dashboards are currently being developed for state health plan priorities, and will be shared on the Healthy Wisconsin website in 2020.

Due to a successful roll-out within DPH, a partner pilot is now underway to build partner capacity and to learn how state and local public health can develop a shared language and framework while utilizing a common tool. By participating in this pilot, local and tribal health departments will enhance their performance management efforts, while taking advantage of peer-to-peer networking, sharing, and learning to develop performance management skills.

Visit Clear Impact to learn more about Results-Based Accountability.

Community Narrative

PHHS Block Grant funds were granted to local health departments in 2018 and 2019 to conduct 53 community conversations in order to gain input from the public on the state of health in their communities. The questions utilized during these community conversations were broad and allowed communities to tell their own story and lead their own narrative in what they saw as needs and strengths of their community, what health means to them, and what would make it easier to make healthy choices.

In 2019, additional funds were awarded to engage populations experiencing multiple health disparities and who are not typically heard from in community assessments. These included refugee and immigrant populations; communities of color; LGBTQ communities; Amish and Mennonite communities; older adults; veterans; persons living with disabilities; and persons experiencing poverty, poor mental health, addition, or homelessness.

The most prominent themes raised by communities across the state were safety, education, and alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA). These themes will help inform the Community Themes and Strengths Assessment of the State Health Assessment.

Resources

To access the state health plan and annual report, visit Healthy Wisconsin (link is external). 

For more information about the PHHS Block Grant, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (link is external). 

To learn about the evaluation of the PHHS Block Grant, visit the CDC’s Evaluation page (link is external).  

For more information about Wisconsin’s local health departments and tribal health agencies, visit the DHS Local Public Health website

Contact Information

For more information about the PHHS Block Grant in Wisconsin, contact:

Jessica Kessler, PHHS Block Grant Coordinator,
Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health

1 West Wilson St, Room 250
Madison, WI 53703

Telephone: 608-266-7358
Email: jessica.kessler@dhs.wisconsin.gov

Last Revised: December 20, 2019