The Mississippi Department of Health held a hearing Monday as it determines how to spend more than $2.175 million in federal funds on public health projects statewide.
The Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant program is a federal program from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides the states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and native american tribes to address public health issues at the local level.
The department released a draft list of the projects and some of the larger programs include:
MSDH will receive $380,660 for the performance improvement and public health accreditation initiative. The state Department of Health will use this money to maintain its accreditation with the national Public Health Accreditation Board by implement the agency's strategic and statewide improvement plans. Four full-time employees will be hired to help with this effort.
The school health program initiative will receive $361,405. These funds will be used in partnership with the state Department of Education's Office of Healthy Schools to continue implementation of a coordinated school health education statewide.
The MSDH will spend $342,614 on preventing childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, strokes, heart disease and other preventable chronic conditions.
The department will also be spending $244,689 to help employers educate their workers about chronic health conditions and promote the use of wellness councils and healthy workplace policies.
One grant consisting of $200,940 will be spent on heart disease and stroke prevention. These funds will be used for community-based initiatives for high blood pressure prevention and control efforts.
Another health program is for the promotion of community water fluoridation and that program will be appropriated $204,642. Only 41 percent of the state's water systems provide fluoridation for their water, with federal data showing that 74.6 percent of the nation's population receiving fluoridation. In 2015 Mississippi ranked 37th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in having the least number of residents who received fluoride via their drinking water. The goal of the program is to increase the percentage statewide.
Costs for administration with the block grants will add up to more than $221,134, with two more full-time positions added to help administer the grants.