Community Transformation Grants

Community Transformation Grants, awarded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have helped produce evidence-based health improvements in California, Minnesota and Iowa. Photo by CDC.

Demonstrating the success of public health is vital in protecting funding for the nation’s health. One of the most palpable examples is the ongoing success of Community Transformation Grants, or CTGs.

Funded as part of the Affordable Care Act, CTGs implement community-level initiatives to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. And the $173 million awarded since 2011 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already yielded substantial returns, as evidenced in several of these reported health milestones that have effectively curbed disease, thwarted injuries and fostered healthier lifestyles.

CTG recipients are required — according to CDC — to demonstrate progress in at least one of five health measures outlined in the Affordable Care Act, including:

  • weight;
  • nutrition;
  • physical activity;
  • tobacco use prevalence; and
  • mental health.

One of the foremost success stories includes San Diego County’s “Live Well” program. The initiative aims to reshape health behavior over a 10-year window, but reported data shows immediate health improvements, including a more than 10 percent reduction in hospital readmission rates among patients who participated in a county hospital’s intervention program, and a 3.7 percent reduction in childhood obesity — the largest reduction in Southern California.

CTG funding has also correlated with major health improvements in Minnesota, as reported by the state’s health department. In Hennepin County, 350 housing properties have adopted smoke-free policies as of May 1, with nearly 50 percent resulting directly from CTG and statewide funding.

And in Iowa, CTG outreach provided by Lee County Health Department led to an increase in patient referrals to tobacco quitlines, as reported by two county dental practices.

The ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which include CTGs, was the nation’s first mandatory funding stream dedicated to improving public health.

Note: This post has been updated.