County commissioners approve grants to promote healthcare equity

The Franklin County Commissioners announced grants of more than $1.6 million to community partner organizations for the purpose of promoting equity in healthcare for Franklin County residents.

The nine grant recipients and their initiatives were chosen because of their focus on reducing disparities in health outcomes primarily for populations that have been historically underserved by high-quality healthcare and health services.

“Our community is thriving in many ways but not always in an equitable way,” said Board of Commissioners President, Kevin Boyce. “For many of our neighbors, the quality of healthcare that is available to them is dependent on their income or zip code, and there are unacceptable disparities for immigrants and people of color. Healthcare and mental health care need to be thought of as human rights, but affecting that change takes purposeful, intentional effort, and these nine agencies are working hard to that end.”

The grants are administered by the commissioners’ Community Partnership agency which has made similar grants since 2021, and which oversaw more than $25 million in total grant funding last year. Recipient organizations include Children’s Hunger which is expanding its nutritional support for at-risk youth, and the Cancer Support Community of Central Ohio and Physicians CareConnection, which are working to reduce barriers to care, including by providing education and other culturally appropriate services. In addition, Catholic Social Services will use the funding to provide a variety of health and social services aimed at central Ohio’s Hispanic population, Lutheran Social Services will use it to provide medical, dental, behavioral health, and vision care for residents experiencing homelessness, and OhioHealth’s grant will go to maternal health and infant mortality efforts.

“As a heart patient, I know something about the miracles of modern medicine, but I can also see that those miracles are conditional and that there are disparities that are holding some of our residents back from getting the care or preventative care that they deserve,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “These health equity grants are an acknowledgment that there is much work to be done and a step in the right direction for the recipient agencies.”

Recipients of this year’s health equity grants are required to not only show that they are providing healthcare to residents in need, but that they are also focused on long-term improvements in health outcomes, and also on moving health equity forward within the organization and with its partners. The commissioners’ 2019 Rise Together Blueprint for Addressing Poverty in Franklin County identified disparate health outcomes as both a symptom and cause of poverty in our community.

“Many of our neighbors are struggling already, and disparate access to healthcare and health resources only makes it harder for working families to get ahead,” said Commissioner Erica Crawley. “We at the Franklin County Board of Commissioners strive to serve every one of our residents each day, and working toward more equitable healthcare availability is one of the ways that we’re helping families thrive and not just survive.”

Additional information about the commissioners’ Community Partnerships Program and future funding opportunities can be found at budget.franklincountyohio.gov.

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