Monday, September 12, 2011

City Receives $1.2 Million Grant to Reduce STDs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the Richmond City Health District (RCHD) has recently been awarded a three-year grant to utilize community approaches to reduce sexually transmitted diseases (STD), one of only four grants awarded nationwide. The RCHD will receive over $360,000 per year as part of the CDC’s Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CARS) Initiative.

“I commend the Richmond City Health District and the Virginia Department of Health for pursuing resources that will address the health concerns in the City,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

In December 2010, Richmond City Health District Deputy Director Dr. Danny Avula and CDC Prevention Specialist Ashley Halbritter collaborated with local organizations and city agencies to form the City-wide STD Coalition to work on the STD issues in Richmond. With help from over 30 coalition members, a grant proposal was submitted to the CDC, showing how the City of Richmond STD interventions and services would look if grant funding provided new resources.

“When we saw this grant for reducing STDs, we knew we had to apply”, said Dr. Danny Avula. “We’d just started the STI Coalition, and the grant was a perfect match for the community-based approach we are trying to establish to address extraordinarily high rates of sexually transmitted infection in the Richmond community”.

Funding will be distributed to partnering community agencies that work with the RCHD to conduct STD prevention and provide treatment services. The Coalition will implement innovative strategies to address the STD issues with the goal of lowering STD rates, reducing health disparities, and encouraging healthier behaviors. “Identifying the health needs, enhancing prevention services, and increasing community awareness will improve the well being of our City,” added Jones.

CDC will also award grants to the University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio), Urban Affairs Coalition/ Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Program (Philadelphia), and the Health Research Association, Inc. (Los Angeles).