The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has funded a $65,000 grant to explore how sharing resources across Central Oregon's three counties might help it fulfill its mission is to improve the health and health care of all Americans.
"The grant will help Central Oregon health departments fulfill their mission of protecting and promoting the health of the communities they serve.," Wednesday's announcement said.
The two-year grant will enable Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson County commissioners and local health administrators to explore ways of sharing resources with the goal of providing more efficient and effective public health services.
Communities across the country increasingly rely on public health departments for services ranging from immunizations and health education to disaster preparedness and response.
But in recent years, funding for public health has dropped significantly even as the mission of public health departments has continued to expand.
The grant will support creation of an effective and cost-efficient shared model of public health emergency preparedness to enhance the protection, safety, and resilience of the Central Oregon community.
A key goal of the project is to regionalize the Public Health Reserve Corps disaster volunteer program across all three counties, where it now only resides with Deschutes County.
Sixteen projects in 14 states are being funded through the Center for Sharing Public Health Services. The center will help health officials, policy makers and other key stakeholders identify and share best practices as a strategy to expand the quality and availability of services, while also improving efficiency.
Deschutes County Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Mary Goodwin is leading the project.
“We are really honored and pleased to be selected for this grant and are especially excited that our project is the only one designed exclusively to focus on public health preparedness,” Goodwin said.
The center is a national initiative managed by the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). To learn more, visit www.PHSharing.org. For more information about the Cross Jurisdictional Public Health Preparedness project, please contact Deschutes County Preparedness Coordinator Mary Goodwin at (541) 322-7466.