Background and Need
As noted in this notice of funding opportunity, underinvestment in the public health infrastructure and disinvestment in some communities in the United States (U.S.) has led to a public health system that needs additional stable and flexible resources to respond to current needs and prepare for future emergencies. Local public health departments are on the frontlines of the country’s public health system, responding to pandemics, delivering services and materials, listening to and responding to our communities, and braiding funding and implementing programs to provide responsive public health services.
The Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) current 5-year community health plan, Healthy Chicago 2025, guides our work and our investments, including the activities proposed in this application. This Plan is focused on the inequities and the neighborhood conditions that drive an 8.8-year life expectancy gap between Black and white Chicagoans and declining life expectancy among Latinx Chicagoans.1 Despite our work and investments to address these inequities, we saw them widen even further with the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, COVID-19 became the second leading cause of death in Chicago (behind heart disease and ahead of cancer) and overall life expectancy in Chicago declined by nearly two years, the largest recorded single-year decrease. The life expectancy gap between Black and white Chicagoans increased to 10 years, and the largest decline in life-expectancy (3.2 years) was among Latinx Chicagoans.2
Guided by CDPH’s community health plan, Healthy Chicago 2025, this grant proposal seeks to support critical positions within the department--both sustaining key positions and work that was identified and initiated during our COVID-19 response and creating complimentary new positions that meet our critical immediate and long-term infrastructure needs and support our ability to plan, coordinate, deliver and fund public health initiatives in Chicago. This proposal also invests resources to support our hiring and recruiting needs, professional development for our staff, performance improvement work to improve in our administrative processes, and an electronic health record system for use in our direct clinical service programs and to contribute to increased availability and use of public health data. By funding work across the department to support our workforce, foundational capabilities, and data infrastructure needs, in addition to achieving selected short- and medium-term outcomes, CDPH will further its long- standing commitment to health and racial equity and be closer to achieving our long-term goal to reduce Chicago’s life expectancy gap between Black and white Chicagoans, and reverse declining life expectancy for all populations with a focus on Latinx Chicagoans.