by Luke Jones
Posted 8/5/2013 12:51 pm
Updated 8 months ago
The Delta Regional Authority and the Health Resources & Services Administration on Monday announced that two Arkansas towns will receive portions of a $6.2 million grant to benefit health-related programs.
According to a news release, ARcare in Augusta is receiving $500,000 from HRSA and $170,517 from DRA; the Greater Delta Alliance for Health in DeWitt will receive $474,522 from HRSA.
The money will go toward programs that address common health issues in the Delta region, particularly obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. About $800,000 is coming from DRA and $5.4 million from HRSA.
In a conference call, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masengill said the Delta region suffers higher rates of diseases like cancer and diabetes than other parts of the nation.
"Businesses in the Delta currently pay disproportionate costs related to chronic disease due to the higher rates in the region," he said. "You can't have a healthy workforce if you don't have a healthy community, and you can't be strong and competitive without putting measures in place. This is directly tied to economic development."
HRSA Deputy Administrator Marcia Brand said the process of awarding the grants was competitive and was based on applications received from various institutions in the Delta.
"We did the recruitment and put out funding opportunities, then it's based on the number of applications that come into the pipeline," Masengill added. "We tried to go with projects that had the biggest impact."
Masengill said the grant amounts were based on the projects requested by the institutions. Brand said some states, like Arkansas, received more than one award due to the way the regions were divided during the selection process.
Other states benefiting from the grants include Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Five of the awards are jointly funded with HRSA grants.