Strengthening local and tribal public health.

Our first-ever grant, issued in 2014, provided $1.3 million to strengthen local and tribal health public health through supporting health departments on governance, community health assessments, strategic planning, and program development. The grant supported health departments around Montana; contributed to new partnerships between health departments, hospitals, and other community organizations; and allowed communities to take concrete steps to strengthen the essential services of public health. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is transitioning this project to a more sustainable format: in 2017 DPHHS relied on core funding and federal block grant dollars to continue this project, with MHCF funds playing a smaller role.

In 2018, our work on strengthening local and tribal public health will focus mainly on leadership planning efforts. To keep informed about our leadership planning work, please email MHCF Program Associate Michele Henson.

Funding Opportunities

For county and tribal public health departments interested in applying for support and mini-grants from DPHHS in 2018, please contact Kerry Pride.

Public health agencies and organizations may also apply for MHCF funds under our competitive 2018 Call for Proposals in the Partnerships for Better Health focus area.

Our Work in Public Health

Public Health Grantees

Public Health System Improvement Office

Improving Health Through Collaborations

Grant Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $262,587

MHCF’s 2014 grant to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) supported county and tribal health departments to complete 34 local board of health trainings, 17 community health assessments, 10 community health improvement plans, and 10 strategic plans. One of the most important findings from this work was the prevalence of behavioral health concerns in communities throughout Montana: 80 percent of health departments identified substance use disorders and at least half also identified suicide or mental illness as top health challenges. This new grant will accomplish two related goals. First, it will build on MHCF’s current collaboration with DPHHS to continue strengthening capacity among Montana’s local and tribal public health departments. Second, through a new partnership between the DPHHS Public Health and Safety and Addictive and Mental Disorders divisions, it will implement a new, statewide, coordinated, public health-led initiative to prevent substance use disorders and mental illness.

MSU - Office of Rural Health

Community Health Worker Stakeholder Project

Project Term: 24 months; 2016-2018
Grant Amount: $140,772

This grant will create a plan to support the broader use of community health workers (CHWs) in Montana. CHWs are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the communities they serve. They are intended to serve as a liaison between community members and health and social service providers in order to facilitate access to care, transportation, appropriate follow-up, and continuity of services. Strong evidence demonstrates that CHWs can improve health outcomes in a cost-effective way. While CHWs and CHW-like roles are becoming more common in the U.S. and Montana, there is little consistency in how the role is defined, or in the training, employment, and funding of these positions. This plan will include standardized training curriculum for CHWs, identification of payment models to support policy-level changes needed to sustain these positions, and education for providers on how to utilize them. A stakeholder group comprising payers, providers, and health departments will provide broad-based perspective; and focused work groups will develop a model curriculum, training delivery models, and address policy issues related to scope, credentials, payment models, and sustainability.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Improving the Health of Montanans through Local and Tribal Public Health

Project Term: 24 months; 2014-2018 (project extension)
Grant Amount: $1,344,740

This project will support county and tribal health department strategic planning and programming through a collaboration with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). As part of its efforts to support health departments around the state, DPHHS undertook a department-wide effort to provide counties with County Health Profiles, which are specific, county-level health data. This data offers an important new tool to help communities in Montana identify health needs and make plans to address them. County Health Profiles are available to the public via DPHHS’ portal for the county health departments and Community Health Assessments are available on our website.

2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.