Of Arizona?s 114,000 square miles, 55% is federal and state government land and 28% is owned by 22 federally-recognized American Indian tribes in Arizona. Arizona has 15 large counties; four share the 377-mile international border with Mexico. Maricopa and Pima counties comprise 75% of Arizona?s 7.3 million population and are eligible for separate funding under this grant announcement. The Arizona Department of Health Services will cover the remainder of the state through this opportunity.In its 13 other counties, rural Arizonans generally have poorer health outcomes, higher uninsured rates, less access to health services, and alarming disparities in infection, hospitalization and deaths related to the pandemic for American Indian, Latino, African American, and elderly populations.The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and its partners will work together to reduce the burden of COVID-19 among disproportionately affected populations in rural communities throughout the state. Through this grant, ADHS and its partners will implement all four overarching strategies: ?Expand existing and/or develop new mitigation and prevention resources and services to reduce COVID-19 related disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved?Increase/improve data collection and reporting for populations experiencing a disproportionate burden of COVID- 19 infection, severe illness, and death to guide the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?Build, leverage, and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19 prevention and control among populations that are at higher risk and underserved?Mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address social determinants of health as they related to COVID-19 health disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underservedArizona?s initiative will be implemented with significant involvement of partner organizations. Seven tribal-serving organizations will receive funding thr
ough this opportunity to implement activities addressing the needs of their communities. With a specific focus on rural Arizona, ADHS will be working with nine rural county health departments and the University of Arizona Center for Rural Health (Arizona?s State Office of Rural Health). Each county has specific work plans designed to meet local needs and implemented in partnership with local organizations. The University of Arizona Center for Rural Health will implement several activities to support rural communities, including navigation to services, health literacy, education on determinants of health, and development of an Arizona Public Health Champions program.Community health workers are essential ambassadors of health coming from the communities in which they serve. Utilization and expansion of community health workers is embedded throughout Arizona?s initiative in several counties, and will be enhanced by statewide training and support led by the Arizona Community Health Workers Association. Additional statewide activities include chronic disease prevention and management, work with community action agencies, enhanced support for people with disabilities, utilization of culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging and materials, and conducting health equity organizational assessments and improvements.In total, more than $31 million will be provided to partner organizations to advance health equity in local communities. Activities led by ADHS will focus on improvement of data collection, analysis, and reporting related to disparities, communications, coordination of equity activities within ADHS and with partners, and development of a statewide navigation system to help underserved communities connect with services. ADHS will build on the work set forth in the Arizona Health Improvement Plan, which prioritizes health equity, mental wellbeing, social determinants of health, rural health/urban underserved, and pandemic recovery/resiliency.