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DPHSS awarded $6.6M to address Covid-19 health disparities

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has been awarded a $6.6 million federal grant to address Covid-19 health disparities in Guam.

The grant will allow DPHSS to expand testing and vaccination to underserved communities and hard-to-reach populations, as well as heighten community awareness about Covid-19. “We are excited about this grant opportunity and what this can do for our island,” said Art San Agustin, DPHSS director.

“Health disparities have existed in our community long before Covid-19, but this virus has had a way of magnifying the inequities facing underserved, high-risk, and hard-to-reach communities, as well as racial and ethnic minority groups."


San Agustin said the grant will give the agency the capability to ensure there is health equity and that families have access to services. Its intended outcomes include advancing health equity, improving testing and contact tracing capabilities, and reducing the burden of Covid-19 among racial and ethnic minority groups and disproportionately affected populations.


“Our teams stand ready to get the job done. As long as we continue to see positive cases and until we’re sure we’ve offered vaccination to every eligible person, our dedicated teams will be here to support in every way we can,” said Chima Mbakwem, acting chief public health officer and incident commander.

“With this grant, we can expand our response capacity and achieve our goal of reducing transmission in our island.” The grant, which was awarded through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, was awarded on June 1.

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