FORHP Announcements – January 28

January 28, 2021

What’s New

New National Strategy for COVID-19 Response. Last week, the White House released a plan for the pandemic that includes a campaign for vaccination, setting standards for controlling the spread of the virus, and enacting the Defense Production Act to extend emergency relief.

GAO Report on Rural Hospital Closures.  The latest report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) addresses the effects of hospital closures on residents in rural areas. Among other objectives, the report examines how closures affected the number of health care providers, and the distance residents traveled for health care services.

NIH Assessment of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published results of a study to determine what Americans think about getting immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine.  Of a group of 1,878 participants, the greatest reluctance to get a vaccine was found among African-Americans (34%), Hispanics (29%), rural dwellers (29%), and those who had children at home (25%).

ACF Report on Child Maltreatment.  The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) reports on rates of children who are victims of neglect or abuse using data collected from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.  In 2018, the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services recommended that federal policy include a strategy for awareness, research, and programs to address the health consequences of Adverse Childhood Experiences for rural, tribal, and other at-risk populations.  See the Funding section below for several programs serving children and youth.

COVID-19 Resources

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19.  A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders.

COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs. Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions.  Includes information on terms and conditions, attestation, reporting and auditing requirements, general and targeted distributions, and how to report capital equipment purchases.

CDC COVID-19 Updates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, including a section specific to rural health care, a Toolkit for Tribal Communities, and a tracker of cases, deaths, and tests by countyNew: COVID-19 Vaccine Locator.

CMS Coronavirus Stakeholder Calls.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hosts recurring online sessions to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS.

HHS Coronavirus Data Hub.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website includes estimated and reported hospital capacity by state, with numbers updated daily.

COVID-19 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The site provides access to demographic and economic data, including state and local data on at-risk populations, poverty, health insurance coverage, and employment.

ATTC Network COVID-19 Resources for Addictions Treatment. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network was established in 1993 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  The online catalog of COVID-related resources includes regularly-updated guidance and trainings for professionals in the field.

GHPC’s Collection of Rural Health Strategies for COVID-19.  The FORHP-supported Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides reports, guidance, and innovative strategies gleaned from their technical assistance and peer learning sessions with FORHP grantees.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties.  The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States.  An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning January 21 to the present.

Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019.  The Rural Health Information Hub has a compendium of rural-specific activities and guidelines, including Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness, a tool with resources for responding to a local surge in cases.

SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created this list of resources, tools, and trainings for behavioral health and recovery providers.

Mobilizing Health Care Workforce via Telehealth. was created by the Federation of State Medical Boards through the CARES Act and the FORHP-supported Licensure Portability Program. The site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing by state as well as a provider portal to connect volunteer health care professionals to state agencies and health care entities.

Online Resource for Licensure of Health Professionals.  Created by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, the site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing in each state for psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists assistants, and social workers.

Funding and Opportunities

RWJF Summer Health Professions Education Program – February 5.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provides a free summer enrichment program for college students interested in the health professions. Eligible students include, but are not limited to, individuals who identify as African American/Black, American Indian and Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino, and those who are from communities of socioeconomic and educational disadvantage.

SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative – Category III – February 12.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will make 70 awards with a total investment of $30 million for community-level treatment and services for children, adolescents, and their families who experience or witness traumatic events.  Categories I and II of this initiative are for a single national center and for service centers for specific types of events or population groups, respectively.  SAMHSA intends an even distribution of awards among rural and urban populations for eligible applicants that include state, local, and tribal governments, public or private universities and colleges, and community- or faith-based organizations.

HRSA Loan Programs for Health Professions Schools –February 25. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers four loan programs for colleges and universities.  Schools can then offer low, fixed-rate loans to students pursuing a wide range of health care careers.

DOJ Culturally-Specific Services for Sexual Assault Victims – March 1.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make 12 awards of up to $300,000 each to support services for sexual assault victims.  Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations that provide community-based, culturally specific services in the following racial and ethnic communities:  American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, Asian American, African American, and Hispanic.

DOJ Mentoring for Youth Affected by the Opioid Crisis – March 2.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make 17 awards of up to $1.25 million each to provide services to children and youth impacted by drug use.  Eligible applicants are nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have a mentoring program that has been operating for at least one year.

DOJ Services for Victims of Human Trafficking – March 2.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make 27 awards of up to $800,000 each, for direct services to victims of human trafficking.  Eligible applicants include state, local, and tribal governments, public housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations, with priority given to rural areas. A separate but related funding notice, DOJ Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Human Trafficking – March 1, will invest $15 million in 25 awards for programs that provide transitional housing and financial assistance.

DOJ Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program – March 4.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will invest $3.8 million for 12 awards to create or expand sustainable sexual assault services provided by Tribes, tribal organizations, and nonprofit tribal organizations within Indian country and Alaska Native villages.

ARC Workforce/Economic Revitalization in Appalachia – Letters of Intent March 5.  The Federal Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will make awards of up to $2.5 million each for projects that promote job creation and re-employment opportunities for displaced coal-economy workers. Projects should be a collaboration of state, local, and regional stakeholders and address priorities that include substance abuse response, enhancing broadband services, and strengthening the health care sector.  Eligible applicants, including state, local, and tribal governments and organizations within the 420 counties of the ARC service area are required to submit a Letter of Intent by March 5.

DOJ Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence – March 8.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will make eight awards from a total investment of $7.5 million to support services for children.  Priority will be given to applications addressing rural-specific challenges.  Eligible applicants include state, local, and tribal governments, independent school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations.

DOJ Grants for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Against Children – March 9.  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will invest $4.8 million in 11 awards to support community-based efforts to address the needs of children and youth impacted by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  A separate program, DOJ Grants for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault – March 29, invests  $30 million in 45 grants to improve the criminal justice response to violence with adult victims.  Eligible applicants include state, local, and tribal governments and courts.

NEA Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design – March 12.  The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) seeks communities to participate in its initiative involving residents and local leaders in community design.  Design challenges may include downtown revitalization, heritage preservation of land or buildings, and creating public or civic spaces for local identity and active recreation.  Up to four rural communities will be selected for an on-site rural design workshop to develop solutions to a specific design challenge.  Up to 15 communities will participate in a learning cohort of government, nonprofits, local business, and civic organizations training in design, planning, community engagement, and facilitation techniques.

HRSA P4 Challenge: Primary Care to Improve Child Health – March 15.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) seeks innovative approaches to increase access to pediatric primary care, including well-child visits and immunization services.  Eligibility for the Promoting Pediatric Primary Prevention (P4) includes health providers, health educators, community-based organizations, public school and housing entities.

Rural Health Research

Research in this section is provided by the HRSA/FORHP-supported Rural Health Research Gateway.  Sign up to receive alerts when new publications become available. 

Barriers to Health Care Access for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries.  This policy brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center presents findings from an online survey of rural health clinics describing barriers for Medicare patients in accessing healthcare services, and recommendations for how to improve access to care.

Policy Updates

Visit the FORHP Policy page to see all recent updates and send questions to

HHS Community News Dec. 2, 2020

In spite of the challenges we are facing with the pandemic, we are buoyed by encouraging news regarding COVID-19 vaccines. There are many questions about how these new vaccines will be distributed, who will get them first, and when and where they will be available.  A good place to start is the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Distribution Graphic.  Here are a couple of stops worth understanding on the roadmap to vaccine delivery:

Yesterday members of ACIP met and decided, on an interim recommendation, that long term care residents will follow the healthcare workers for the first estimated 40 million doses when they are available. Here is a link to the presentation slides.

  • WHEN & WHERE:  A phased distribution and administration approach will be informed by the availability, volume, timing, and efficacy, as well as, storage and handling requirements. Read the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations and find your jurisdiction‘s preparedness plans here.  In short- the federal government is providing guidance to jurisdictions distributing and administering locally.
  • WHY?: When enough people are vaccinated against a certain disease, the germs can’t travel as easily from person to person — and the entire community is less likely to get the disease. This concept is called community immunity, or herd immunity. Learn more here.
  • 3 W’s?:  It’s important to understand that even when we have the vaccine—we will still need to practice the 3 W’s – Watching distances, Washing hands, Wearing masks. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. Read and share CDC’s FAQ about COVID-19 Vaccinations.

Also share this not-to-miss website for myth-busting: Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines (available in Spanish and other languages).

HHS News and Highlights

A new portal and information hub making it easier to volunteer for clinical trials and convalescent plasma donation. (Now in particularly high demand.)

CDC’s COVID-19 One-Stop-Shop Toolkits

Videos, social media, PSAs, print resources, checklists, FAQs, and web resources for every sector or community to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Rural Faith Leaders Workshop Series: Empowering Faith Leaders to Help Persons with Substance Use Disorder

First Workshop – Tues. Dec 8, 2020, 1:00 p.m. (EST) Register here

Join the Partnership Center for this first in a series of four workshops for rural faith leaders to support individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). Organized by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), each workshop will have a specific focus to assist faith communities to be both first responders, communities of hope, and support for people and families struggling with addiction.

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW)

During 2020-2021, getting a flu vaccine is and will be more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Visit and shre CDC’s Influenza (flu) webpage, Multi-Language Factsheets, and Spanish Communication Resources.

Awards and Grant Opportunities

OJJDP Awards More Than $221 Million To Support Juvenile Justice

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention announced awards of more than $221 million to enhance state and local juvenile justice systems; provide gang prevention and intervention services; support mentoring and reentry services for youth and families; and more. For a complete list of awards visit here.

Statewide Family Network Grant Program

SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2021 Statewide Family Network grant program to more effectively respond to the needs of children, youth, and young adults with serious emotional disturbances (SED) and their families.  Closing date: Jan. 4, 2021.

Statewide Consumer Network Grant Program

This CHMS program seeks to improve efforts to address the needs of adults with serious mental illness (SMI) by developing and/or expanding peer support services, peer leadership, and peer engagement strategies statewide. Closing date: Jan. 4, 2021.

AmeriCorps State and National Grants

Funding for programs designed to strengthen communities and solve local problems, including those found in rural and underserved areas. Funding priorities include prescription drug and opioid abuse, education, and rural intermediary organizations. Closing date:  Jan 6, 2021.

Farm to School Grant Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service grants to plan, establish, and/or sustain a Farm to School program that improves access to local foods in schools. Closing date: Jan. 8, 2021.

Dept. of Housing and Urban Development HOPE VI Main Street Grant Program.

Grants to small communities to assist in the renovation of an historic or traditional central business district, or “Main Street” area, by replacing unused, obsolete, commercial space in buildings with affordable housing units. Closing Date: Jan. 19, 2021.

Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities
The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program makes federal funds available by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to states, U.S territories, Indian tribal governments, and local communities for pre-disaster mitigation activities. Closing date: Jan 29, 2020.

REAP Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Program
Grants for intermediary organizations to assist rural small businesses (including healthcare facilities) and agricultural producers by conducting and promoting energy audits and providing renewable energy development assistance. Closing date: Feb. 1, 2021.

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Programs Support Senior Volunteerism

The AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program and Senior Companion Program Expansion Sponsor Competitions seek to engage older Americans in volunteer service that fosters intergenerational relationships and provides companionship to other older adults and adults with disabilities. Closing date: Feb. 3, 2021.

Community Health Access and Rural Transformation

The Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model aims to improve health care quality and reduce Medicare and Medicaid expenditures within rural communities. The CHART Model will harness the drive, creativity, and local expertise of rural communities and leverage national resources to improve access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes for rural residents.  Closing date: Feb. 16, 2021.

Sisters Health Foundation: Our New Priority Areas and What Bold Looks Like

Our New Priority Areas

Health Eating, Active Living
Thriving Neighborhoods   Mental Health and Addiction

Starting with our Fall 2020 cycle, which opens on May 1, the new SHF priority areas that will guide our 370-year mission to serve our “dear neighbor” will be Healthy Eating, Active Living; Thriving Neighborhoods; and Mental Health and Addiction.  We made these changes because we listened. We listened to what the community was telling us over the past two years when we met with over 100 organizational leaders and members at the local, state, and federal levels to help inform our work on addressing community needs.  Because our external environment is constantly changing, we as a foundation recognize that our role in the community needs to evolve as well. We must respond to meet the most pressing health needs in the Mid-Ohio Valley. As a result of the listening process, we realized that some priorities required fine tuning while other parts needed some bolder thinking. So we asked ourselves: What does bold look like to SHF?

Learn more about the rationale for the priority area changes by clicking here.

What Bold Looks Like


Our board and staff decided to embark on this bold decision to make a 20 year commitment to mental health and addiction because these issues deeply need our time and attention. West Virginia and Ohio have the worst mortality rates of diseases of despair, such as suicide, alcoholic liver disease, and drug overdose. As a community, we need to change this reality.

“Serving our dear neighbors is a commitment we made to our communities,” SHF Board President Arlene Borkowski said. “We are committing the SHF resources in the area of mental health and addiction for years into the future because these issues affect all of us.”

These two issues have far-reaching ripple effects: in schools, the food security network, healthcare systems, the foster care system, the workforce, and most importantly, the lives of our family and friends whom we love. There are no other issues in our grant-making portfolio that touch every aspect of our vision of “healthy people in healthy communities” so deeply and directly as do mental health and addiction.  As Executive Director Renee Steffen states, “We know we cannot fully address the complexity of these issues in 1, 2, or even 5 years. We need to stick with these issues for the long haul to make an impact.”

To read more on this bold commitment, click here.

Sisters Health Foundation / 304-424-6080

Our mission is to promote healthy and sustainable communities by providing resources, strengthening collaborative relationships, and supporting initiatives that impact people in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Through this mission, the Sisters Health Foundation seeks to enhance the rich gifts already found in local communities.


Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation

Photo: Roadsidepictures/FlickrCC

Successful RCORP-Implementation award recipients will receive up to $1 million for a three-year period of performance to enhance and expand substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD), service delivery in high-risk rural communities. Award recipients will implement a set of core SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery activities that align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis (PDF – 76 KB). Award recipients are encouraged to leverage workforce recruiting mechanisms like the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Find out how to become a NHSC site.

All domestic public and private entities, nonprofit and for-profit, will be eligible to apply and all services must be provided in HRSA-designated rural areas (as defined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer). Applicants do not need to be current or former RCORP-Planning award recipients to apply for this funding opportunity.

The applicant organization must be part of an established network or consortium that includes at least three other separately-owned (i.e., different Employment Identification Numbers) entities. At least two of these entities must be located in a HRSA-designated rural area.

RCORP is a multi-year initiative by HRSA aimed at supporting treatment for and prevention of SUD/OUD. In FY18, HRSA awarded 95 grants to rural communities under the RCORP-Planning initiative and funded a technical assistance center to support RCORP award recipients. In FY19, in addition to the RCORP-Implementation awards, HRSA anticipates awarding a new round of RCORP-Planning grants and launching a pilot grant program aimed at expanding the number of small rural hospitals and clinics that provide medication-assisted treatment.

HRSA plans to award approximately 75 grants to rural communities as part of this funding opportunity.