Flexible Funding to Support Public Health Innovation
August 15, 2022
The Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant provides federal funding for 61 recipients: the public health departments in all 50 states, Washington D.C., two American Indian tribes, five United States territories, and three freely associated states. These flexible funds allow recipients to identify and fund initiatives that address vital public health needs within their jurisdiction. As with all block grant funding, the PHHS Block Grant enables recipients to address broader goals to meet their community needs in a way that categorical funding may not be equipped to support.
CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS), which administers the PHHS Block Grant, is conducting a national evaluation to assess the value of the grant, describe and measure select outputs and outcomes, and strengthen outcome accountability. The evaluation will assess how the PHHS Block Grant helps recipients address their priority public health needs and how it contributes toward organizational, systems, and health-related outcomes.
One key area of interest is if and how the PHHS Block Grant, as a flexible funding source, supports innovation and improving health outcomes in unique ways. National organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Public Health National Center for Innovations assist health agencies in improving health through innovative initiatives. Within that context, the PHHS Block Grant is a unique mechanism through which recipients can creatively allocate fiscal resources to support communities. It allows recipients to try intentional, innovative ideas, all while remaining good stewards of federal funds. Because of the opportunity the PHHS Block Grant provides recipients, ASTHO—in collaboration with CSTLTS—wanted to better understand innovation within the context of the PHHS Block Grant.
To gain a better understanding of how the PHHS Block Grant is being used to assist jurisdictions with the flexibility to address their public health needs, ASTHO, with support from CSTLTS, conducted an evaluation study to understand:
- What innovation means in the context of the PHHS Block Grant.
- How the PHHS Block Grant supports innovative approaches to address prioritized public health needs.
This report details how PHHS Block Grant recipients have used funding to support innovative approaches for addressing their public health needs.