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Health Department nets $13.8 million CDC grant to beef up public health infrastructure, workforce

The Shelby County Health Department and its partners, including the University of Memphis, have been awarded $13,837,767 over a 5-year term for infrastructure improvements and workforce development.

The grant funding is part of $3.2 billion in awards that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funneling to state, local and territorial jurisdictions to strengthen their public health infrastructure.

“This grant funding is a game-changer for the Shelby County Health Department,” said Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor. 

“Part of my agenda when taking the role as Health Director was to invest in our employees by enhancing public health competencies that allow us to serve our community better and improve health outcomes. We asked for funding to build and revitalize our existing public health infrastructure and for funds to recruit, retain, and train our public health workforce now and in the future.”

The CDC fully funded all of the requests.

“This funding is designed to address under-resourced communities like Shelby County that are economically challenged and have high-risk and underserved populations,” Taylor said. “I am proud of the work we have already accomplished, and I am looking forward to the next chapter of strengthening our public health workforce.”

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said the CDC investment “is a testament to the leadership and good work of the Shelby County Health Department. We’re thankful to President Biden’s Administration and the CDC for their confidence, support, and ongoing partnership.”

The University of Memphis School of Public Health was a key partner in the Health Department’s grant proposal.

“The University of Memphis School of Public Health is so excited to collaborate with the Shelby County Health Department on such an important and timely initiative,” said Dr. Ashish Joshi, dean of the School of Public Health.

“The work of this grant will contribute to preparing the next generation’s public health workforce to address 21st century public health challenges. This initiative will also strengthen Shelby County’s public health data infrastructure, which will have positive impacts both locally and beyond.”

The University of Memphis is the implementation partner for each of the grant goals.

“The University of Memphis is committed to serving the residents of Shelby County. For that reason, the University is very excited about this partnership with the Shelby County Health Department,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, executive vice president for Research and Innovation at the U of M. that University of Memphis said.

“(The) University will assist the Shelby County Health Department in its effort to promote, protect, and improve the health of the residents of Shelby County via this public health workforce initiative. We look forward to all that we will accomplish together over the next five years.”

(For more information about Shelby County Health Department’s programs and services, visit https://www.shelbytnhealth.com/.)

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