The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) announced $116.5 million in grants Nov. 16, which officials say will help strengthen public health infrastructure across the Garden State.
The first award, the Enhancing Local Public Health Infrastructure Partner Organization Grant, provides $75 million to the New Jersey Association of City and County Health Officials (NJACCHO) to administer grants to eligible county, municipal and regional local health departments (LHD’s).
The program aims to support the development or expansion of long-term health infrastructure improvements with a focus on health equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.
“There is great need to make improvements to our physical and technological infrastructure as well as our public health workforce,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The past two-plus years have shown us the need for and value of a strong public health system in addressing emerging health threats and health equity. This money will bring county and local health departments the resources needed to support their efforts.”
The County Health Infrastructure Grant Program, meanwhile, provides $41.5 million in direct support to the state’s 21 county health departments. The funding helps efforts to address and respond to public health emergencies, such as COVID-19 and monkeypox; emerging local needs; and other key public health priorities. It can be used to invest in physical or technological infrastructure, or to bolster workforces to prepare for future surge responses against public health threats.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the health of our neighbors, family and friends here in Union County and this funding is an important tool to keep us moving forward with any assistance or programs we may need,” said Union County Manager Ed Oatman.
“As New Jersey’s most diverse county, equity and inclusion remain a major focus for healthcare development planners here and we appreciate that this funding reflects that concern,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “As we all learned in 2020, planning is key to effective public health response.”
Gov. Phil Murphy echoed those sentiments regarding COVID-19.
“The pandemic highlighted more than ever before just how critical it is for government to invest in public health,” said Murphy. “A robust network of county and local health departments can make all the difference in helping states identify, address, and respond to public health issues. This investment will strengthen our public health infrastructure by making us more resilient and prepared to meet challenges facing New Jersey both today and in the future.”l