DeWine announces $64M to transform children’s health services across Appalachia 

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced last week dozens of transformational projects that will significantly improve access to healthcare across many of Ohio’s Appalachian communities.

As part of the new Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative, more than $64 million in funding will be awarded to the Appalachian Children Coalition to support the creation or expansion of community- and school-based health clinics, the launch of healthcare-focused workforce development programs, and more.

“Our vision for Ohio’s future is one where all Ohioans, no matter where they are from, have the opportunity to live up to their full potential,” said Governor DeWine. “These projects will uplift and empower the people of Ohio’s Appalachian region for generations to come.”

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The funding will be divided among 28 projects that are expected to impact 61,000 students and 375,000 residents across 20 Appalachian counties. Partners include 34 school districts, a career technical school, an educational service center, and 16 healthcare partners. Expanded services will include comprehensive primary care, dental, vision, and mental health services for children, families, and communities.

“Expanding school-based healthcare is proven to significantly reduce barriers to accessing essential health services, leading to improved physical and mental health and academic outcomes for students,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “These investments will deliver better life and academic outcomes for students, benefiting families and the community.” 

The project will also establish workforce training partnerships between schools and their associated health clinics to prepare the next generation of Appalachian healthcare professionals. 

 “By addressing the holistic health needs of students and families, this project exemplifies the transformative power of community-driven solutions,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “I commend the Appalachian Children Coalition and their partners for bringing together diverse stakeholders to create a healthier future for Appalachian Ohio.” 

Funding for the Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative is being awarded through the larger Appalachian Community Grant Program, which is investing $500 million into Ohio’s 32-county Appalachian region. This unprecedented investment was spearheaded by the DeWine-Husted Administration with support from the Ohio General Assembly. More than $350 million in remaining funding will be awarded in coming weeks to further revitalize the region and create an abundance of new opportunities for future generations.

Approximately $80 million in Appalachian Community Grant Program funding was previously encumbered to several shovel-ready projects in March 2023 and for planning grants to cover costs associated with project planning and design. The program is administered by the Governor’s Office of Appalachia within the Ohio Department of Development.