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HHS invests $250 million more in public health initiatives

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | June 24, 2010
With a quarter of a billion dollar investment courtesy of the health reform bill, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services looks to prevent chronic disease and improve public health.

HHS just announced it is doling out $250 million to help prevent chronic diseases, track outbreaks and beef up public health training centers. This is the second $250 million investment focused on improving health care. The first went to strengthening the primary care workforce.

"This prevention-focused approach is better for doctors, patients and our national balance sheet," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

The investment is part of a $500 million Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. Earlier last week, the HHS announced it was spending the first $250 million of the earmarked funds to support enlarging the country's primary care practice workforce.

For the current round of grants, the HHS said the bulk of it, around $126 million, will go toward community prevention initiatives such as fighting obesity and discouraging smoking. Around $70 million will help support state and local governments tracking infectious diseases; $31 million will beef up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's research and community services; and about $23 million will bolster the CDC's public health training centers.

"With these investments, we are tackling the underlying causes of chronic diseases as well as strengthening our ability to meet the public health challenges of the 21st century," Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin said in a statement.