Cherokee Nation awarded $1.7 million for public health efforts
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
9/22/10 at 7:31 AM
WASHINGTON - In a federal competition to improve public health programs, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma came out a winner with $1.7 million.
The state of Oklahoma settled for a consolation prize of $200,000.
Those awards were among 94 projects totaling $42.5 million announced by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Joyce Marshall, director of the Office of Performance Management at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said the agency was pleased the Cherokee Nation was chosen for the larger funding.
"We work together as partners," Marshall said. "We are pleased that money came to Oklahoma to assist in public health efforts."
In the competitive component, she said, the state had applied for $1.5 million.
According to Sebelius, the funding provided through new five-year cooperative agreements will be used to strengthen the public health system through better coordination and collaboration to deliver higher quality health care more efficiently.
"These funds will help health departments around the country to improve the quality and effectiveness of the critical health services that millions of Americans rely on every day," she said.
Candice Burns Hoffmann, public affairs specialist with the CDC, said the agency was able to award only 19 competitive proposals because of funding constraints.
If more funding becomes available in the next fiscal year, she said, the CDC hopes to fund additional proposals.
Dr. Gloria Grim, medical director of the Cherokee Nation, said the federal funds will be used to create a system to help both patients and their doctors know the history of a patient's care.
"Regardless of the facility the patient uses for services, their health-care information will be accessible by other providers within the Cherokee Nation system," Grim said. "This will allow us to provide even better care for our patients."
Melissa Gower, group leader for Cherokee Nation Health Services, said the changes will benefit not only members of the tribe but also other American Indians in the area.
"The Cherokee Nation was selected because of the tribe's focus on providing quality health care to Cherokees and other Native Americans we serve," Gower said.
Gower said the grant will help in building a sustainable public health infrastructure that will in turn allow the tribe to better manage the health care of those in the area.
Original Print Headline: Cherokee health effort rewarded
Jim Myers (202) 484-1424