CHIRD Project Update

As a follow-up to a recent inquiry from a county partner regarding the purpose of a request for grant applications (RFGA # ADHS11-00000145), we thought it would be helpful to circulate information that may clarify this for any other county partners who may also have some questions about it.

This request for grant applications addressed community organizations in five counties (Gila, Graham, La Paz, Mohave, and Navajo), chosen on the basis of their rankings on health outcomes (mortality/morbidity) and health factors (health behaviors, clinical care, socio-economic, physical environments). The purpose of the RFGA was to advance community engagement to reduce health disparities related to tobacco-use, cancer, cardio vascular disease/stroke, pulmonary disease, and diabetes. The funding of potential awardees of these grants is from the CDC-funded Community Health Initiatives to Reduce Disparities (CHIRD) Project, aimed at increasing collaborations among community-based groups in the areas of diabetes, BRFSS, Healthy Communities, and tobacco. The CDC grant stipulates that funds be dedicated to the diversification, expansion, and increased sustainability of our efforts with disparate populations, and to increasing community involvement by focusing on non-government, community organizations to further community network development statewide with disparate populations.

Thus, programs currently receiving tobacco funds in these five counties, like the local health departments, were excluded from the solicitation because they are already addressing these issues through their Interagency Service Agreement (ISA) with the Arizona Department of Health Services, Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease. We continue to support and endorse the local health departments as the lead entity at the local level in planning and delivering public health services, and for those entities that are awarded grants, we will work to ensure a high level of collaboration with county and other entities addressing public health concerns in their respective areas.

To the extent that local health departments have expressed an interest in exploring new initiatives and collaborations in the tobacco and chronic disease areas, our staff have been working one-on-one with all county program managers to develop individual action plans that make the most sense for each county. The ISAs we have in place with each county are flexible enough to allow for changes to action plans as work progresses through each fiscal year, and thus program managers have been encouraged to present ideas for integration and collaborations with community organizations and health systems as part of those action plans. When these collaborations further our mutual mission, they are written into county action plans and when necessary, additional funds have been infused into county budgets to ensure such initiatives are included.

While our staff have reported on the purpose and process of the CHIRD Project on several occasions in both statewide and individual county meetings over the past two years, including the most recent statewide gathering in May, I know firsthand how easy it is to view the myriad of funding streams and network-building activities as disconnected or duplicating. For this reason, please know that we will continue to provide updated information on this and other initiatives on an ongoing basis (i.e. statewide, county-specific, and monthly all-county calls). In addition, the Tobacco-Free Arizona blog will include regular updates on any funding opportunities that may be of potential interest to local health departments. The language in RFGA # ADHS11-00000145 specifically requires coordination with the local health department, and all future solicitations of this nature shall include such language so that we are continuing our support of your role at the local level.

Please don’t hesitate to call me or any of our leadership team with any questions about the CHIRD Project or our overall tobacco and chronic disease integration efforts.

Veronica Perez, Director of Chronic Disease Programs, 602-364-0841

Gowri Shetty, Director of Research & Program Evaluation, 602-364-0839

Mary Ehlert, Director of Marketing & Communications , 602-542-0886

Karen Boswell, Director of Operations & Finance, 602-364-0832

Courtney Ward, Director of Special Projects, 602-542-2075

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