HHS Awards $1.5M to Advance Equity in Public Health

Greenville Partners work together to overcome systemic barriers to health

A strategic partnership between three non-profit organizations and two universities has received a grant award of $1.5 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Office of Minority Health (OMH). The collaboration, named the Equity in Public Health Initiative (EPHI), aims to improve the health of Black and Hispanic individuals living in Greenville County by addressing policies and practices that contribute to structural racism and perpetuate health inequities.

Members of this unique partnership include LiveWell Greenville, Hispanic Alliance, the Greenville Racial Equity and Economic Mobility Commission (REEM GVL), Clemson University and Furman University. The collective impact of these organizations and institutions strengthens the fabric of the Upstate.

“This is an unprecedented moment for our community and our state. This grant award marks the epoch of broad-based system change for healthcare in Greenville,” Executive Director, Sally Wills of LiveWell Greenville said. “We are excited to work with like-minded partners for the benefit of the Black and Hispanic community.”

Over the course of three years, the initiative will receive approximately $500,000 per year and will work in concert to research and identify local policies, systems and practices that create inequalities that negatively impact the health of Black and Hispanic communities. In the first year of the project, research conducted and evaluated by Clemson University and Furman University will delve into the social determinants of health, such as economic mobility, education, and the built environment.

In subsequent years, the research will be used to ignite community-driven action plans for addressing barriers, creating positive change and ultimately improving health for minority populations. “We want to see all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, walking the path to health and prosperity in Greenville.” said Adela Mendoza, Executive Director of Hispanic Alliance. “This award underlines the commitment of our great nation to build equitable access to healthcare at the local level.”

Only 10 communities across the U.S. were awarded this grant from the Office of Minority Health, presenting a unique opportunity in the South. Through this grant, the EPHI will continue fostering and advancing a positive and inclusive environment in Greenville County, a place nationally recognized as a welcoming and vibrant community.

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