COVID-19 Vaccine Program Expansion, Poison Prevention, and more

A Newsletter from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

 March 18, 2021

Biden Administration to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Program to 950 Community Health Centers

photo of a man being examined by a doctor

March 11 - As part of President Biden’s commitment to ensure the nation’s underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are equitably vaccinated, this week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is announcing that an additional 700 HRSA-supported health centers will be invited to join the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. These health centers will have the opportunity to join the program over the next six weeks, increasing the total number of invited health center participants to 950.  

View a list of the health centers participating in or invited to join the program.

Read the release.

National Poison Prevention Week is March 21-27

For poison emergencies, make the right call: 1-800-222-1222. HRSA Poison Help

National Poison Prevention Week raises awareness of poison prevention nationwide during the third full week of March every year. Next week is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of poisons and promote community involvement in poisoning prevention.

Learn more and check out our resources to help you plan activities in your community.

Webinar: Addressing the Unique Needs of Black Women with HIV

photo of a woman talking with her doctor

March 10 was National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In honor of this observance, HRSA's Office of Women's Health (OWH) and HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) invites you to join a webinar March 25, 1-2 p.m. EDT: Addressing the Unique Needs of Black Women with HIV.

HIV disproportionately impacts Black women in the United States, and they often face stigmas related to HIV status, gender, race and ethnicity. In this second installment of OWH's Women's Health Leadership Series, speakers will:

  • Highlight data and findings from a HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau Technical Expert Panel focused on improving HIV prevention and treatment services for Black women;
  • Share stories from the perspective of the lived experience; and
  • Discuss interventions for Black women with HIV developed through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part F Special Projects of National Significance program.

Register for the webinar or reach out for more information about the Women's Health Leadership Series.

Rural Health Information Hub Spotlights HRSA Rural Grantee

photo of st charles madras medical center

Every quarter, the HRSA-funded Rural Health Information Hub features a new Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) grantee in their online Rural Monitor publication. This quarter’s Grants in Motion story highlights St. Charles Madras, a Critical Access Hospital in Oregon, who used their FORHP Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program grant to improve cultural competency to better serve its diverse patients.

Facilitated Federal Panel Discussion on Rural Health in the Context of the Pandemic Response

Virtual Federal Panel Event with HRSA, OASH, OCR, FORHP, CDC, CMS and SAMHSA 3/25 Noon - 1:30 p.m. EDT

HRSA’s Office of Regional Operations Region 1, in partnership with the New England Rural Health Association, invites you to join an interactive, facilitated federal panel discussion on March 25th at Noon EDT. Dr. Marcia Brand, former HRSA Deputy Administrator, will lead and moderate an engaging opportunity to learn about government resources, current priorities, and new and exciting initiatives on the horizon.

We will be joined by federal partners from the Administration for Community Living, the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the HHS Office of Civil Rights. The event will include informal breakout sessions with panelists. It is free and open to all.

Learn more and register.

New School Readiness Measure Shows Preschoolers Need More Support

kids playing in the grass

A recent study led by HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau and published in Academic Pediatrics found that there are significant opportunities to improve young children’s readiness to start school.

The new study examines school readiness, including a new measure called “Healthy and Ready to Learn,” (HRL) as well as sociodemographic, health, family and neighborhood factors. The HRL measure evaluates how well children ages 3 to 5 are prepared for kindergarten based on parent-reported information gathered through HRSA’s 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health. School readiness factors incorporated into the HRL measure include early learning skills, social-emotional development, self-regulation, physical well-being and motor development. Students fall into one of three categories: on-track, needs support and at risk. Overall, the study found that only about four in 10 children are fully on-track in the HRL measure.

Read more about the study, Healthy and Ready to Learn: Prevalence and Correlates of School Readiness among US Preschoolers

HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program Increases Vaccine Administration Rates

hand holding a bag of money

To align with recent CMS payment rate updates, the HRSA Uninsured Program almost doubled the reimbursement rate for providers administering the COVID-19 vaccine to uninsured individuals. More specifically, providers can now expect a reimbursement rate of $40 (up from $28) for the administration of single-dose vaccines, and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. This update became effective on March 15, 2021. Learn more about the Uninsured Program and find weekly updates on providers being reimbursed through the program.

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  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Poison Prevention Week (21-27)
  • National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (10)
  • National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (20)
  • National Poison Prevention Week (21-27)


Funding Opportunities


Health Centers

Health Center Program Service Expansion - School-Based Service Sites - Apply by April 2


Health Workforce

Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Paraprofessionals - Apply by April 12

Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program - Apply by April 19

Behavioral Health Workforce Development Technical Assistance and Evaluation (BHWD TAE) Program - Apply by May 3



Capacity Building for Sustainable HIV Services - Apply by May 7

Quality Improvement Solutions for Sustained Epidemic Control Project (QISSEC) - Apply by May 7

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B States/Territories Supplemental Grant Program - Apply by May 10

Global Reach I - Apply by May 10


Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center Program - Apply by April 6

Emerging Issues in Maternal and Child Health - Apply by April 9

Vision Screening in Young Children Program - Apply by April 12

Autism Secondary Data Analysis Research Program - Apply by April 12

Autism Field-Initiated Innovative Research Studies Program (Autism-FIRST) - Apply by April 15

Bridging the Word Gap Research Network (BWG) - Apply by April 22

Sickle Cell Disease Newborn Screening Follow-up Program - Apply by April 29

Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program - Apply by May 3

Long-term Follow-up for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency and Other Newborn Screening Conditions - Apply by May 3

State Newborn Screening Interoperability Implementation Program - Apply by May 10


Rural Health

Evidence Based Telehealth Network Program - Apply by April 2

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Psychostimulant Support - Apply by April 12

Telehealth Centers of Excellence - Apply by April 20


View All Funding Opportunities