Dr. Gill Wright

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TN Tribune) – The Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) will receive more than $10.5 million over the next five years as part of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The grant was awarded for the purpose of enhancing MPHD’s public health workforce and foundational infrastructure. The Metro Board of Health approved the grant award Thursday, December 8.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted several key areas where MPHD’s infrastructure needed to be strengthened,” said MPHD Director of Health Dr. Gill Wright. “This grant will allow us to better invest in our current employees while ensuring the needs of the public health workforce of the future will be met.”

A few of the priorities of the grant are to modernize data collection and analysis, cover certification and licensing for key employee groups and integrate the Community Health Worker program into MPHD’s local efforts. Activities across 14 different bureaus and divisions within MPHD will be supported by the grant.

“This historic funding opportunity will serve to significantly and strategically dedicate resource towards long-term investments that will have significant impacts on how MPHD can better serve our communities,” said Dr. Stephanie Kang, Health Equity Director at MPHD. “As MPHD continues to fulfill its mission to advance health equity, the Health Equity Bureau will leverage the grant to support and sustain our workforce, modernize public health infrastructure and data systems to remove barriers to services, and build sustainable partnerships and community trust in immediate and future public health efforts.”

MPHD’s award is part of the $3.2 billion awarded by the CDC to state, local and territorial public health jurisdictions. According to the CDC, funding from this grant will help ensure that every U.S. community has the people, services, and systems needed to promote and protect health.