UNDATED (HHS.GOV) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today the availability of approximately $40 million to strengthen and better coordinate activities within state and territorial health departments aimed at preventing chronic diseases and promoting health. Created by the Affordable Care Act, this initiative targets the nation's five leading chronic disease-related causes of death and disability: heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis.
"Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and they account for about three-fourths of the more than $2.5 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Fortunately, many chronic diseases are preventable, and these new resources will assist states and territories in the implementation of proven prevention and wellness programs that will save lives and lower health care costs for all Americans."
This announcement is one part of the first-ever Prevention & Wellness Month, as the Obama Administration is highlighting announcements, activities, and tips that will help Americans get healthy and stay healthy. The new initiative will support the implementation of public health programs, surveillance of chronic diseases, translation of research into public health practice, and development of tools and resources for health workers and other leaders at the national, state, and community levels.
State and territorial health activities will focus on reducing age-adjusted mortality due to chronic diseases and reducing the prevalence of disabling chronic diseases. In addition, the initiative will aim to improve health and quality of life by promoting environmental and policy changes related to nutrition, physical activity, and clinical preventive services and by promoting education and management skills for people diagnosed with or at high risk for chronic diseases.
"Many chronic diseases share common risk factors, afflict similar population groups the hardest, and can be effectively addressed by the same public health strategies," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which oversees the initiative. "That's why it's so important to help state and territorial health departments develop the organizational capacity and management approaches to deal with chronic diseases holistically, not just as separate conditions."
CDC expects to award funds for 3-year coordinated statewide chronic disease programs to all 58 U.S. states and territories, with approximately $40 million available for the first 12-month budget period. As a critical requirement, successful grantees will create or update statewide plans that demonstrate coordinated approaches to addressing the leading causes of chronic disease deaths and their associated risk factors, including but not limited to heart disease, cancer, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Tobacco use, a leading risk factor for chronic diseases, is not part of the initiative but will continue to be addressed through CDC's other statewide prevention programs.
State and territorial health departments interested in submitting proposals for the Prevention and Public Health Fund Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program can find more information at www.grants.gov. The application deadline is July 22, 2011.