COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Millions of dollars in federal grants are going to Columbus Public Health (CPH), which the city’s health commissioner says will help bring about some big changes.
The grant, worth just over $9 million, will be disbursed over five years.
Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said the pandemic is part of the reason the funding became a reality.
Some of CPH’s most high-profile work has occurred over the past few years, with community members turning to the department for COVID-19 drive-through testing, take-home test kits and vaccines.
“I think it plays an important role because many people didn’t understand public health before the pandemic,” Roberts said.
A big reason for setting up the grant was the pandemic, Roberts said. The $9 million comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which, according to the CDC, will help strengthen the national public health system, which has been underfunded for decades.
“Before this pandemic, public health was sort of forgotten, and people realized, ‘Oh wow, public health is needed. We need them, but we’re not funding them properly, so they need some catch-up money to catch up. up, and then we can start maintaining them after they catch up,'” she said.
The state also receives funding from the program, but CHP is the only local health department in Ohio that receives this funding, according to Roberts. She described it as the silver lining of the past few years.
“I hope there will be more silver linings in the future, and I hope it’s not a one-off,” she said.
Roberts said the money will be used in three main areas: overall infrastructure, recruiting new staff at CPH and retaining existing staff.
“I think it could have a significant impact on the well-being of our employees and recruit some really new employees who might not have considered public health,” Roberts said.
CPH is still determining exactly how the money will be spent, and Roberts said staff are excited to see how the funding will transform and improve the health sector over the next five years.