Portland receives $125K public health grant

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PORTLAND — The city’s Public Health Division has been awarded a $125,000 grant to explore new ways of collaborating with other health agencies.

Portland is one of 16 communities nationwide, and the only one in Maine, to receive such a gift.

The grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was announced Jan. 31 by the Center for Sharing Public Health Services, a national initiative managed by the Kansas Health Institute with support from the foundation.

The Public Health Division will use the grant to develop a “cross-jurisdictional sharing” model for working with the state and county public health agencies, according to a City Hall press release. Together, the three agencies will determine where service gaps exist and develop a plan for reducing them.

“With resources scarce, it makes sense for public health experts at all levels of government to pursue opportunities to collaborate,” Julie Sullivan, the division’s director, said.

“Whether it’s vaccinating to prevent a flu epidemic or delivering services during a natural disaster, public health plays an important role in how well a community is able to respond, and working together at all levels will only improve our ability to meet the public health needs of the region.”

A total of $1.9 million in grants were awarded by the center. The only other recipient in New England was the city of Worcester, Mass.

The Kansas Health Institute was selected to coordinate the foundation grants as the Center for Sharing Public Health Services because of the institute’s experience guiding similar work among local health departments in Kansas, according to the press release.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or whall@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.