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The Partnership Center Newsletter

February 8, 2013 Edition

In this issue, you will find…

Dear Partners:

In February, we celebrate African-American History Month. We at the HHS Partnership Center thought it would be most appropriate to share Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ thoughts marking the occasion with you, our stakeholders and colleagues. Working with all of you, our Center strives to make a positive impact on diverse communities and congregations throughout the country. We hope the Secretary’s words inspire you as we observe this special month.


Acacia Bamberg Salatti, Acting Director
Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 

Featured Update

Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on African-American History Month

Today, we celebrate the beginning of African-American History Month and honor the remarkable contributions that African-Americans have made to the nation’s progress. At HHS, we honor the opportunities in public health, medicine, and scientific research made possible by leading African-Americans across the country.

During this year, we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and pay tribute to the pioneers who came before us and commit to build on their legacies. It seems only fitting that the theme for African-American History Month is ‘At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: the Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington.’

African-Americans are part of what makes this country great and our nation’s health and health care system has been strengthened and transformed by their steadfast commitment to ensuring a system of health equity. During this month, we recall Dr. Charles Drew, whose work led to the life-saving ability to store blood plasma; Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the first successful heart surgery in 1893; and Mary Eliza Mahoney, the first African-American professionally trained nurse. In more recent times, we recognize such leaders in public health and health equity as Dr. David Satcher, who served as Surgeon General of the United States, Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We honor these medical trailblazers by carrying on their work to advance health care and expand access to care. Without access to quality health care and the security of health insurance for all Americans, we cannot truly have freedom and equal opportunity for all. This administration is committed to building a nation where every American has a fair shot to achieve his or her dreams. For too long, African-Americans have faced challenges getting the health care they need, and consequently, their opportunities have been limited.

Building on our first ever HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, the Affordable Care Act takes steps to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to live out their full potential by bringing down health care costs, investing in prevention, eliminating the worst of insurance industry abuses, and ensuring millions more Americans have health insurance. The health care law is making preventive services such as flu shots and cancer screenings more accessible than ever and available at no out-of-pocket cost to millions of Americans with private insurance, including 5.5 million African-Americans. The health care law is also helping states expand Medicaid eligibility and it’s strengthening Medicare for our seniors and people with disabilities.

The law also expands coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Those that are uninsured or underinsured will be able to shop for health insurance through their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace, where they will be able to compare plans based on price, benefits, quality, and other important features and choose the one that best suits their needs. Enrollment begins Oct. 1, 2013. If you need health insurance or know someone who does, you can visit and learn how to prepare for the new Marketplace and how to get help or help others get the health care they need.

At every level, we are working hard at HHS to make a healthier America by eliminating disparities, increasing diversity of the nation’s health care workforce, and improving the health of all communities. Join us this month as we recognize the achievements of African-Americans and move toward the day when every American has the chance to live a healthy life and contribute to their community and country.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace, please see

Follow @HealthCareGov on Twitter and like on Facebook.

Learn more about what HHS is doing to fight health disparities at


Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

100 Congregations for Million Hearts

By Acacia Bamberg Salatti, Acting Director, HHS Partnership Center

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. The societal cost of cardiovascular disease is not a price we can afford and the opportunity to affect change by reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the population is far too ripe to ignore. Co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Million Hearts is a national initiative that HHS launched in September 2011 to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. By focusing on clinical and community initiatives to combat one of the most common, costly and preventable chronic diseases facing us in the 21st century, Million Hearts™ brings together communities, health systems, non-profit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.

The magnitude of this problem necessitates a focus on population health with particular attention to communities disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease. It is in this spirit that Million Hearts has developed a plan to address health disparities in minority populations. 100 Congregations is a component of that plan.

The goal of 100 Congregations for Million Hearts is to enlist the support of faith-based organizations in increasing awareness and action around cardiovascular disease prevention by focusing on hypertension control. Participating congregations will commit to designating a Million Hearts advocate from among the membership to serve as a resource for heart health information and warehouse for clinical referrals. In addition to the Million Hearts Advocate, congregations are being asked to establish and/or strengthen relationships with local providers (community pharmacists, community health centers and community health workers); disseminate messages about the importance of hypertension control; promote the risk check challenge app (an app that helps consumers determine and reduce heart risk); and distribute hypertension tracking walled cards. This effort will be launched in five cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tulsa.

We invite you to attend the launch in Baltimore on Thursday, February 21st from 1:00-3:00pm at the CMS Auditorium (7500 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21244).

Help From the Affordable Care Act to Quit Smoking and Live Longer

By Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health

Quitting smoking by age 35 may add 10 years to your life, according to a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine. And quitting even in middle age can increase your life expectancy by as many as six years. In fact, non-smokers are twice as likely to live to age 80 compared to smokers.

That’s why the Administration is focused on helping people, especially youth, from taking up smoking in the first place and helping adult smokers quit.  It’s not easy to stop smoking. The good news is that now, because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans have greater access than ever to resources to help them quit.

For many Americans with private health insurance plans, tobacco use screenings for all adults, cessation interventions for tobacco users, and expanded counseling for pregnant women who smoke will be covered at no out-of-pocket cost. And seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare who smoke or use tobacco products are now covered for counseling to help them stop.

But that’s not all we are doing. We are making an unprecedented investment in programs like the Million Hearts initiative, because cigarette smokers are 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. And a national ad campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped tens of thousands of smokers to quit. Through investments in programs like these, we can prevent and detect heart disease early­ and we can get people the information they need to stop smoking and make good health decisions.

Quitting smoking may be the single most effective thing you can do to improve your life expectancy, according to the article’s findings. And now the Affordable Care Act can help you find the way to quit and add years to your life.

Visit for additional resources on quitting and preventive tips for youth.

For more information about the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers ad campaign, see

Listen to the Podcast: Be Tobacco Free.

National Health Service Corps expands the primary care workforce

Physicians to practice in communities that need them most

On February 6, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the National Health Service Corps awarded more than $10 million in funding for loan repayment to 87 medical students in 29 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, who will serve as primary care doctors and help strengthen the health care workforce.

Made possible by the Affordable Care Act, the National Health Service Corps’ Students to Service Loan Repayment Program provides financial support to fourth year primary care medical students in exchange for their service in the communities that need them most. In addition to Corps clinicians currently providing care, nearly 1,000 students, residents, and health providers receive scholarships or participate in the Student to Service Loan Repayment program to prepare to practice.

“This new National Health Service Corps initiative is an innovative approach to encouraging more medical students to work in primary care, and to bring more primary care doctors to communities,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This is an important part of the administration’s commitment to building the future health care workforce.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Students to Service pilot program provides loan repayment assistance of up to $120,000 to medical students in MD and DO programs in their last year of education in return for their commitment to practice in the communities that need them most  upon completion of their primary care residency.

“The average medical school debt is often more than $200,000,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.  “The Students to Service program help relieve a tremendous debt burden, allowing them to follow their passion for primary care.” These newest NHSC providers must provide three years of full-time service or six years of half-time service in designated rural and urban areas.

As a result of historic investments in the Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act, the numbers of National Health Service Corps clinicians are at all-time highs. The number of providers serving in the Corps has nearly tripled since 2008. Today nearly 10,000 National Health Service Corps providers are providing primary care to approximately 10.4 million people at nearly 14,000 health care sites in urban, rural, and frontier areas.

In October, Secretary Sebelius announced that $229.4 million was invested in the National Health Service Corps in 2012 to support more doctors and nurses and increase access to primary care.  These investments included nearly 4,600 loan repayment and scholarship awards to clinicians and students, and grants to 32 states to support state loan repayment programs.

For more information about NHSC programs, please visit

HHS Announces Health Insurance Marketplace, New Tools to Learn More

In eight months, starting on October 1, 2013, millions of Americans will be able to sign up for quality, affordable health care. In January 2014 the health insurance coverage will begin. HHS has created new tools to educate people about the new insurance options. To learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit and click on the orange tab. You may also want to sign up for updates on the Marketplaces on this page as well.

The Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes called an “Exchange”, will be where people can learn about affordable health insurance. People will be able to compare all of their health insurance options in one place, and know that plans are meeting state and federal standards. Health insurance will also be more affordable for many families, thanks to new rules that make it easier to get help with costs. Different financial assistance programs will be directly linked in, including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits that can help pay private health plan premiums in advance.

Small businesses will be able to use this new program to make health insurance available to their employees. They will have the option to offer coverage from multiple insurers, choose the level of coverage they will offer, and define how much they will contribute towards their employee’s coverage.

Each month in the HHS Partnership Center Newsletter we will update you on new developments in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Please also visit the Affordable Care Act and You section of our website,  for new webinars, including an updated tour of and new materials on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Let’s Move Faith and Communities:
Bread for the City’s Food Pantry Ensures Access to Nutritious, Affordable Food

At the heart of the issue of childhood obesity is a paradox: while one in three American children is overweight or obese, over 16 million children continue to live in food-insecure households where putting food on the table, let alone healthy food, is a daily struggle.  Bread for the City’s food pantry, the largest in Washington, DC, has completely transformed its food delivery model to include healthy fare through an innovative combination of urban agriculture, gleaning and free farmers markets.  The organization provides a great model for how other food pantries and programs can address hunger while also providing healthy, nourishing food for its clients.

Bread for the City serves 31,609 low-income District of Columbia residents through its medical and legal clinics, as well as its social services program.  The organization is well aware that its food pantry may be the only source of healthy foods for the over 9,000 people per month who rely on its offerings – and it is committed to delivering it!  At Bread for the City, food pantry “bushels” of ramen noodles and other instant foods have been replaced by lean meats, whole grains and fresh produce, as well as the one-on-one nutritional and culinary guidance to go with it.

The organization focuses on the District’s most vulnerable populations: the elderly, the disabled, and families with children, all with annual house incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty line.  Its programs include:

- Glean for the City: Weekly volunteer excursions to local farmers markets (and the occasional farm itself) to collect fresh produce (apples, corn, squash, etc.) that would otherwise go to waste.  This season, Bread for the City collected an average of 2,000 lbs. of produce each week.  Since Glean for the City’s inception in July 2009, over 172,000 lbs. of free fresh produce has been collected and distributed through the organization’s food pantry locations.

- City Orchard: In 2011, Bread for the City finalized a grant with the University of the District of Columbia to grow an orchard on a 2.75 acre plot of land in nearby Beltsville, MD.  With this new resource, called City Orchard, it anticipates it will be able to provide clients with hundreds of tons of fresh fruit (including apples, Asian pears, blueberries, and more).

- Rooftop Garden: Within city limits, Bread for the City cultivates the largest rooftop garden in the DC-metro area.  The 3,500 square-foot garden in Northwest DC provides space for workshops focused on gardening and nutrition.  A second rooftop garden is in the works at the organization’s Southeast Center.  Beyond serving as a sustainable produce supply for the city’s poor, City Orchard and the Rooftop Garden provide an invaluable resource for conducting field trips and engaging clients on topics such as nutrition, growing produce, and urban gardening.

- Free Farmers Markets: Through a grant from the Capital Area Food Bank, Bread for the City’s Food Program runs a seasonal Free Farmers Market where it distributes thousands of pounds of free produce.  In addition, at each market it provides healthy food samples, helps eligible clients apply for SNAP and WIC benefits, gives cooking demonstrations, and hosts arts and crafts activities like face-painting.

Bread for the City and its programming is a shining example of how food pantries, non-profit groups, and communities can work together to encourage healthy choices and ensure access to nutritious, affordable food.

Heidi Christensen is Associate Director for Community Engagement at theHHS Partnership Center. Pam Niesen is an intern at theUSDA Partnership Center.

American Heart Month

February is also American Heart Month, a time to think about what you can do to take care of your heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack and about 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year – that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths.

The situation is alarming, but there is good news: most risk factors for heart disease – including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking – are preventable and controllable. Controlling these risks could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 80 percent.

We can start by taking small steps every day to bring our loved ones and ourselves closer to heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing a tip a day throughout February, but you can take these small steps all year long.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 immediately.

In her Statement on American Heart Month, Secretary Sebelius also discusses several partnerships between HHS and public and private partners to raise awareness of heart disease. These include:

  • Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, by educating the public and health care professionals and bringing together diverse partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke.
  • The Heart Truth shares stories of women who have been touched by heart disease, increases awareness of women’s personal risk factors and empowers them to take healthy steps to reduce their risk.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative provide adults and children with resources and tips to make heart healthy changes in their lives.
  • Haga La Llamada. ¡No Pierda Tiempo! is geared toward Latinas and builds on the Make the Call. Don’t Miss a Beat campaign. The new Spanish-language campaign aims to educate and encourage Spanish-speaking women to call 9-1-1 when they or their mothers, sisters and friends, experience any symptom of a heart attack.

You can also follow Million Hearts and The Heart Truth on Facebook and Twitter for even more ways to protect your heart and live a longer, healthier life.

Together, we can prevent heart disease, one step at a time.

Spotlight on Staff: Ari Schoenholtz

My name is Ari Schoenholtz and I’m a Program Analyst at the HHS Partnership Center. I manage our Center’s efforts to support the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative through Let’s Move Faith and Communities. I also help produce our communications efforts, such as the newsletter you’re reading and many of the toolkits and 1-pagers featured on our website, as well as external presentations like our webinars. Within the Department, I coordinate our Center’s relationships with HHS staff who serve as liaisons to faith-based and community organizations in the 10 HHS regions across the country. Finally, I have the privilege of managing the Partnership Center’s Internship program, which offers interns the opportunity to work closely with our staff and with faith and neighborhood leaders who prioritize wellness as a key dimension of care for their constituents.

My favorite part of my job is sharing ideas and creating resources to help faith and neighborhood leaders across the country make their communities healthier. For example, through the programs and resources offered by Let’s Move Faith and Communities – such as the Clearinghouse of Best Practices, the Communities on the Move Video Challenge and our monthly webinars – our Center shines a spotlight on leaders who are transforming how their communities eat and exercise. These leaders witness firsthand many of the obstacles their congregants and community members face in the journey to good health and have a unique ability to inspire people to make positive changes for themselves and their families. I really enjoy lifting up these leaders’ voices and sharing their best practices so that others can learn from them and adapt these programs for their own communities.

Over the coming year, I’m excited to continue brainstorming with leaders and highlighting innovative models of community health. My focus will continue to be on encouraging wellness leadership, since efforts to improve a community’s health can only grow strong roots in a community where there is leadership in place to nurture it and make it happen. The most effective wellness leaders weave the importance of healthy living into the fabric of a congregation or organization’s role within a community, or as one of my colleagues likes to say, they “build wellness into the character of their communities.” Our support helps these leaders establish a foundation for long-term, sustainable change in their congregations and communities. I love doing my part to make that possible.


Upcoming Events

Interactive Webinars on the Health Care Law

The HHS Partnership Center continues to host a series of webinars for faith and community leaders. All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any questions you may have. We also encourage you to submit questions you would like to have answered on the webinars to

To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred topic from the list below and submit the necessary information. Please click on the title of the webinar and fill out the registration form. After registering you will receive an e-mail confirmation containing information about joining the webinar. Please contact us at  if you have problems registering or if you have any questions about the health care law.

National Webinars

February 12, 2:00 p.m. ET – The Health Care Law 101

February 21, 12:30 p.m. ET – Tour of

February 26, 3:00 p.m. ET – The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)

February 27, 2:00 p.m. ET – The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Outreach and Enrollment Campaign

March 7, 1:00 p.m. ET – The Health Care Law 101   

March 19, 3:00 p.m. ETThe Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)

Empowering America's Grassroots

Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Grants Forecast is a database of planned grant opportunities proposed by its agencies. Each Forecast record contains actual or estimated dates and funding levels for grants that the agency intends to award during the fiscal year. Forecast opportunities are subject to change based on enactment of congressional appropriations.

When funding is available and an agency is ready to accept applications, the agency will issue an official notice, known as a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), which will be available on how to apply. 

As always, the final section of our newsletter includes an updated grants listing that faith-based and community non-profits can pursue. All of these grant programs are competitive. It is important to review the funding announcement thoroughly to ensure that the grant opportunity is one that is appropriate to your organization’s mission, size, and scope.

Grants Listings

Title:Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grants

Description: Funded under the Affordable Care Act, these grants will continue efforts to find and enroll eligible children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). A total of $32 million is available. Grants are expected to range in size from $250,000 to $1 million for a two-year period, beginning June 1, 2013 and ending May 31, 2015.

Eligibility: States, local governments, community-based and non-profit organizations.  Indian health care providers and tribal entities also are eligible to apply. (In addition, a separate funding opportunity exclusively for Indian health care providers and tribal entities will be made available for outreach and enrollment grants at a later time.)

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: February 21, 2013

Grant is administered by the:Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


Title: New Access Point Grants

Description: This announcement solicits applications for the Health Center Program’s New Access Point (NAP) grants.  Health centers improve the health of the Nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations by ensuring access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services.  Health Center Program grants support a variety of community-based and patient-directed public and private non-profit organizations that serve an increasing number of the Nation’s underserved. Individually, each health center plays an important role in the goal of ensuring access to services, and combined, they have had a critical impact on the health care status of medically underserved and vulnerable populations throughout the United States and its territories.

Eligibility: Applicant must be a public or non-profit private entity, including tribal, faith-based, and community-based organizations. 

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: March 7, 2013

Grant is administered by the:Health Resources & Services Administration


Title: Adoption Recruitment Campaign and Response Initiative

Description: The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement is to establish, by awarding a cooperative agreement, a multimedia national adoption recruitment campaign to promote the adoption of children from the public child welfare foster care system to ensure that they have permanent adoptive homes with loving families and to establish a support system for the states in the utilization of the new media and appropriate recruitment response mechanisms so as to meet the requirements of the Child Health Act of 2000. The intended result of this work is to increase the number of adults willing to provide an adoptive home for children in foster care who are waiting for an adoptive family.

Eligibility: Faith-based and community organizations that meet eligibility requirements are eligible to receive awards under this funding opportunity announcement.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: March 7, 2013

Grant is administered by the:Administration for Children & Families


Title: Academic-Community Partnership Conference Series

Description: The purpose of this grant opportunity is to bring together academic institutions/organizations and community organizations to identify opportunities for addressing health disparities through the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).  The objectives of meetings conducted as part of this award will be to: (1) establish and/or enhance academic-community partnerships; (2) identify community-driven research priorities, and (3) develop long-term collaborative CBPR research agendas.

Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply.  The opportunity is also available to various governmental entities, local organizations, for-profit groups and small businesses.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: October 17, 2014

Grant is administered by the:National Institutes of Health

Content last reviewed on December 29, 2014