Earlier this month, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced two grants totaling more than $3.5 million to reach beyond the Ryan White Program -- the federally funded program that provides care and treatment to about half a million Americans living with HIV/AIDS -- and provide expanded care and treatment for minority patients that have been impacted by the disease.
The first three-year grant, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will provide $2.975 million to HealthHIV, based in Washington, DC, to improve and enhance the organizational capacity of community health centers across the nation to provide culturally competent, compassionate, high-quality, and life sustaining HIV care and treatment to racial and ethnic minorities living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The grant will support a new AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC) National Center for Expansion of HIV CARE in Minority Communities.
HRSA supports a nationwide network of more than 7,900 health centers. These centers provide quality primary care to almost 19 million medically underserved people -- about 40 percent of them have no health insurance. Everyone who enters the door is served; no one is ever turned away. These health centers represent one of the nation's best primary health care delivery models. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health centers received a tremendous boost. The Act provides $11 billion over the next five years for the operation, expansion and construction of health centers throughout the nation. This will create the largest expansion of community health centers in the program's history and make it possible to nearly double the number of patients they serve. To find a health center near you, use this locator.
More than 1,100 health center grantees operate more than 7,900 community-based clinics in every state and territory, giving geographically isolated or economically distressed people access to preventive and primary health care. These HRSA-supported health centers treated nearly 19 million people in 2009, approximately two-thirds of whom are members of minority groups. Forty percent have no health insurance; a third are children. (To find a health center near you, use this locator.)
The second grant was awarded to Howard University, a historically Black college located in Washington, DC. The three-year grant of $550,000 establishes the AETC National Multicultural Center. The Center will provide training and technical assistance designed to increase cross-cultural awareness and competency among health care professionals and facilities serving the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.
"These grants will support the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy by expanding capacity at the community level, facilitating linkages to care and increasing the available providers to serve people living with HIV," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Miguel Gomez is the AIDS.gov Director (Cross-posted from the Office of National AIDS Policy Blog).