(STATEHOUSE) – The Indiana House of Representatives voted in support of legislation that would establish a new $50 million grant program targeting the state’s most critical health challenges, according to State Reps. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) and Chris May (R-Bedford).
According to the United Health Foundation, Indiana falls at the bottom of several health rankings, including being ranked as the 43rd state for physical inactivity, 41st for smoking rates, and 40th for obesity rates.
“Indiana is consistently ranked in the lowest tiers for national health rankings,” said Davisson, vice chair of the House Public Health Committee. “This bill will help us be more strategic in addressing public health concerns affecting the daily lives of Hoosiers. A healthy Indiana is also vital to the economic strength of our state.”
Davisson said the grant program would be administered by the Indiana Department of Health. The proposals seeking to focus on chronic health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease would be given preference. Grants could be used for both new and existing programs and initiatives.
“Wellness is key to reducing our health care costs and having a vibrant state to live and work in,” May said. “We must improve these rankings if Indiana is to continue flourishing.”
According to May, the grant program is modeled after Indiana’s successful Safety PIN program, which helps lower the state’s infant mortality rate through providing funding to local health organizations. After the Safety PIN program was implemented, Indiana reached a record-low infant mortality rate last year for the first time in our state’s history.