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COVID-19 Health Disparities Grant

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded grants to address COVID-19 health disparities among populations at high-risk and underserved, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities. The Center for Rural Health received funding for the following projects.

Critical Access Hospital Physical Plant Grants

Staff contact: Brittany Dryburgh

Fifteen grants were awarded to 13 North Dakota Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) for a total of $2 million. CAHs could receive award amounts up to $100,000 each to put towards a strategic analysis of physical plant needs of their system (CAH, Rural Health Clinic, long-term care, etc.) or towards the actual implementation of physical plant needs found as a result of an external strategic analysis.

Rural Health System Analysis Redesign

Staff contacts: Nicole Threadgold & Brad Gibbens

North Dakota Rural Health Value
The Center for Rural Health, with guidance from several North Dakota CAH CEOs who serve as an advisory board, is working with the University of Iowa on a health value-based project. The University of Iowa and Stratis Health (Minneapolis) work collaboratively as Rural Health Value which is a leading group well versed in rural-focused value-based processes with an understanding of rural dynamics. Another partner is Newpoint Healthcare Advisors. The project focuses on preparing North Dakota CAHs for value-based payment structures which help providers to move from a volume-based system to one that focuses more on population health. With population health, providers are paid based on outcomes and performance-based metrics.

Rural Health Workforce Development

Staff contact: Stacy Kusler

There are three areas focusing on health workforce:

Resiliency Training
Resiliency training has been offered to 29 key healthcare professionals in the state of North Dakota in order to increase mindfulness, resilience, and healthy behaviors, while reducing anxiety, burnout symptoms, and stress. Additional training opportunities will be offered. The key healthcare professionals received a Certified Resilience Trainer certification, and they are now qualified to offer this training to other healthcare professionals within the state. Forty-five health profession students have received HappiGenius training so far, and are now equipped to teach the content to elementary students in the state, therefore giving students social and emotional skills early on to improve their life. HappiGenius is a course to help children become resilient, improve stress, anxiety, mindfulness, happiness, quality of life, and healthy behaviors. Additional training to HOSA students is also planned.

Health Professions Student Support
Funding for healthcare professional student housing has been provided to 83 students so far with these grant funds. This funding supports the cost of housing in rural areas where health profession students are training as part of their program requirements. This funding is available to healthcare professional students training in rural areas of North Dakota. Healthcare profession students include, but are not limited to, dental, medical, and behavioral health students.

HOSA Future Health Professionals
HOSA is a career and technical organization dedicated to preparing students for careers in the health sciences. Grant funds were used to recruit four rural chapters in North Dakota with the funding from this grant, helping support the cost of starting and maintaining a chapter. Additional rural chapters are encouraged to reach out for funding support.

Collaborative Care Consultation

Staff contact: Rebecca Quinn

Behavioral health education is being offered through Project ECHO to train rural and tribal medical healthcare providers on how to screen, triage, and refer patients in rural and tribal communities for behavioral health services.

North Dakota Tribal Caregivers Project

Staff contact: Dr. Collette Adamsen

The National Resource Center on Native American Aging (NRCNAA) is partnering with the North Dakota Health Equity Office and North Dakota Tribes to identify needs in caregiving, provide education and tools, caregiving training opportunities, and technical assistance. NRCNAA will also work to identify healthcare options such as telemedicine to ensure safe access to direct services are provided to Tribal Elders to age in place safely at home while ensuring they are receiving the vital services needed to enhance a better quality of life.