Atlanta, GA, United States (AHN) - At least 94 projects totaling $42.5 million have been awarded to state, tribal, local and territorial health departments around the country to improve their ability to provide public health services by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted the funding was made possible through the new Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.

“These funds will help departments around the country to improve quality and effectiveness of critical health services that millions of Americans rely on every day,” Sebelius said in a statement.

The funds are a down payment on improving public health services across the nation, said Dr. Judith A. Monroe, CDC’s deputy director for state, tribal, local and territorial support.

This new 5-year program dubbed “Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure for Improved Health Outcomes” will provide departments with needed resources to make fundamental changes in their organizations and practice so that they can improve the delivery of public health services.

The plan includes expansion and training of public health staff and community leaders to conduct policy activities in key areas and facilitate improvements in system efficiency. The project also seeks to build a national network of performance improvement managers that share best practices for improving the public health system.

CDC received last July more than 140 applications from departments seeking funds through cooperative agreement following original funding announcement entitled Public Health Systems and Infrastructure Projects.