CDC’s New COVID-19 Chief Health Equity Officer
Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA

To accelerate progress towards reducing health disparities and achieving health equity, CDC established in the COVID-19 Incident Management Structure, a Chief Health Equity Officer. We are pleased to announce that Leandris Liburd, director of CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity was named to launch this role and stand up the Chief Health Equity Officer Unit. This is the first time in CDC history that a senior leader was placed on the incident management leadership team with the sole focus of ensuring an all-of-response approach to identifying and addressing health disparities. The health equity team has crafted a strategy to ensure that useful data are available and that high impact interventions – that are culturally responsive and tailored to address the unique circumstances of groups at increased risk for COVID-19 –are implemented. Going forward, the Unit will work across the response and with external stakeholders to implement the Health Equity Action Plan.

HHS Initiatives to Address the Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and Other Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Department of Health and Human Services logo

On June 8th, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a fact sheet on initiatives underway to address the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. To learn more about how these initiatives address President Trump’s commitment to improve prevention, testing and treatment of COVID-19 in underserved communities, please click on the following link HHS Fact Sheet – PDF.pdf iconexternal icon The information detailed in the HHS fact sheet outlines some of the immediate steps underway to improve prevention, testing, and treatment of COVID-19 in minority population and reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

The Administration recognizes that effectively addressing the underlying issue of overall poorer health in some racial, ethnic, and underserved communities requires both short- and long-term strategies. Broader initiatives that address both economic opportunity and healthcare disparities are critical and the Administration has multiple initiatives underway, including the creation of Opportunity Zones, the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing, and HHS’s targeted efforts on chronic underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, maternal morbidity, and tobacco use, all of which are more prevalent among some minorities. This fact sheet is focused on the immediate steps HHS has taken to address the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.

For more information about COVID-19 and civil rights including this fact sheet, visit HHS webpage.external icon

HHS Delivers Funding to Expand Testing Capacity in States, Territories, and Tribes
Department of Health and Human Services logo

On May 28th, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced they would deliver $11 billion in new fundingexternal icon to support testing for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10.25 billion to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement. The Indian Health Service (IHS) will provide $750 million to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian Health programs to expand testing capacity and testing-related activities. A detailed allocation and distribution methodology will be announced for the IHS funds in the coming days. This funding is part of the Trump Administration’s broader effort to ensure that states, territories, and tribes have the resources necessary to meet their testing goals as they begin to reopen.

For more guidelines, tools, and resources from CDC and others for states, tribes, localities, and territories, please visit CDC’s webpage for more information.

HHS Awards $15 Million to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic in Rural Tribal Communities
Department of Health and Human Services logo

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $15 millionexternal icon to 52 Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian health organizations, and other health services providers to Tribes across 20 states to prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19 in rural tribal communities.

These awards are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that President Trump signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. HRSA made awards to Federally Recognized Tribes and other tribal organizations based on their needs and capacity to implement COVID-19 related activities in their rural communities. Tribes could request up to $300K in funding for these activities through the Rural Tribal COVID-19 Response (RTCR) program. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many Tribal communities, particularly in rural areas, very hard,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “By directing new resources to these areas we are hoping to make a difference that will result in fewer new infections of this pernicious virus.”

To view the complete list of Rural Tribal COVID-19 Response Program FY 2020 award recipients, visit Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) webpage.external icon

New Compendium of Federal Datasets Addressing Health Disparities
New compendium of datasets addressing health disparities. US Office of Minority Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity provides the most current quantitative information related to minority health.pdf iconexternal icon The inaugural Compendium was issued in 2016, however this updated version was published in September 2019. The Compendium is a useful resource for exploring data related to socioeconomic factors and social determinants of health. It includes datasets and data-related resources developed, maintained, or funded by federal agencies. Additionally, the compendium includes sourcing and maintaining a body of expert knowledge on minority health status initiatives, and demographic statistics and analyses on minority populations, compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, the Census Bureau,external icon private foundations, clinical practitioners, private data sources and public agencies.

The goal of the Compendium is to help address the critical need for coordination and collaboration across sectors to reduce health inequities by improving access and dissemination of publicly available data and information. The audience for the Compendium is broad and includes researchers, program evaluators, grant writers, health officials, and other public health professionals who use data to produce evidence-based information to target interventions to improve health and wellness and address health inequities.

NIH Releases Strategic Plan to Accelerate Nutrition Research Over Next Ten Years
collage of nutritional foods

National Institute of Health (NIH), guided by its Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF)external icon and armed with the insights from the nutrition science community, practitioners, the public, and others, has created a bold vision to advance nutrition science discoveries over the next 10 years. With a focus on precision nutrition, the plan reflects the wide range of nutrition research supported across NIH – over $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2019. The strategic plan calls for a multidisciplinary approach through expanded collaboration across NIH Institutes and Centers to accelerate nutrition science and uncover the role of human nutrition in improving public health and reducing disease.

The strategic plan is organized around four strategic goals that answer key questions in nutrition research:

  1. Spur Discovery and Innovation through Foundational Research: What do we eat and how does it affect us?
  2. Investigate the Role of Dietary Patterns and Behaviors for Optimal Health: What and when should we eat?
  3. Define the Role of Nutrition Across the Lifespan: How does what we eat promote health across our lifespan?
  4. Reduce the Burden of Disease in Clinical Settings: How can we improve the use of food as medicine?

The plan has five cross-cutting areas relevant to all these strategic goals, including minority health and health disparities; health of women; rigor and reproducibility; data science, systems science, and artificial intelligence; and training the nutrition scientific workforce. The strategic plan aligns with the National Nutrition Research Roadmap 2016-2021pdf iconexternal icon created by the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research, a trans-federal government committee charged with enhancing the coordination and communication among multiple federal agencies conducting nutrition research. Read more on the NRTF and their strategic plan on NIH’s website.external icon

Page last reviewed: June 16, 2020