Kent State center, three health departments awarded grant

Amanda Knauer

Kent State University’s Center for Public Policy and Health and three health departments in Portage County received a $125,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The two-year grant will build on the work of the Task Force for Improving Public Health in Portage County. Ken Slenkovich, assistant dean of the College of Public Health, and other Kent State faculty and students, has supported the task force’s work, according to the press release.

The grant will look into “cross-jurisdictional sharing,” which allows health departments to share programs and resources to better serve more than the 160,000 people the health departments serve. The grant will look to see how the three health departments can better work together to provide for the community and fulfill their missions, Slenkovich said.

“The health departments are looking at ways to improve services, become more efficient and perhaps save some money,” Slenkovich said. “This grant will help us do some analysis that will hopefully lead to that.”

John Hoornbeek, associate professor of health policy and management, is the principle investigator of the grant.

“The health departments have put in a fair amount of effort into working with one another, and they have called on us at the college to help them with facilitation services and analytical support,” Hoornbeek said.

The grant is issued through the Center for Sharing Public Health Services, which is managed by the Kansas Health Institute. According to the press release, sixteen health department teams in 14 different states were awarded the grant. Kent State University was the only university awarded with grant money.

“Our hope is that we’re able to come out with some recommendations that the health departments can implement and that will hopefully lead to better services for our residents, “ Slenkovich said.

Contact Amanda Knauer at [email protected].