Health dept. gets $350K to fight opioids
WASHINGTON — As part of the Administration’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic, childhood obesity and serious mental illness in communities throughout the country, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced just over $5 million in new cooperative agreement awards to 15 organizations. The awards were made through the OMH Empowered Communities for a Healthier Nation Initiative (Empowered Communities Initiative), which was created to help minority and disadvantaged populations in communities disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, childhood obesity and serious mental illness.
“We selected the opioid crisis, childhood obesity and serious mental illness as our top three clinical priorities at HHS because they are three of the country’s most pressing public health concerns,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D.
The Empowered Communities Initiative provides funding to communities grappling with some of the nation’s most immediate and growing public health challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999, and more than 500,000 people died from drug overdoses from 2000 to 2015.
The CDC also reports that obesity affects about 12.7 million children in the U.S. (2011-2014) and obesity rates are higher among African Americans and Latinos. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there were nearly 10 million adults with serious mental illness in 2014, and people with serious mental illness are more likely to be unemployed, arrested, have inadequate housing and die at an early age.
The Empowered Communities Initiative promotes communitybased collaborations, including academic research centers and prevention centers, to improve the health of communities where opioid misuse, childhood obesity and serious mental illness pose the greatest threats.
For additional information go to www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov.