Refugees and immigrants will have a share in Metro Nashville’s $4.9 million grant for COVID-19 health disparities in certain racial, ethnic, and rural demographics. Metro Nashville City Council adopted the resolution to accept the funds during its meeting last Tuesday. In its resolution, the council expanded the CDC’s definition of underserved populations to include refugees and immigrants.

“This [grant’s purpose] includes implementation of a collaborative, multilevel, culturally informed approach to expand access to COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration and to reduce disparities among Nashville’s underserved African American, Hispanic, immigrant, and refugee communities,” read the resolution analysis.

The CDC issued the grant money to advance health equity nationwide by meeting the needs of underserved populations it defined as racial and ethnic minorities, as well as rural communities. The CDC plans to allocate $2.25 billion over two years as part of that goal. The funds are designed to provide testing, contact tracing, health department capacity, and vaccinations, among other health department services.

“This grant will provide funding to address COVID-19 and health equity (e.g., through strategies, interventions, and services that consider systemic barriers and potentially discriminatory practices that have put certain groups at higher risk for diseases like COVID-19) in racial and ethnic minority groups and rural populations within state, local, U.S. territorial, and freely associated state health jurisdictions,” wrote the CDC.

The Tennessee Star inquired with Mayor John Cooper’s office whether the CDC had approved these funds to be used for refugees and immigrants explicitly. Cooper’s spokespersons didn’t respond by press time.

As The Star reported previously, Davidson and Shelby counties received nearly $12 million collectively from the CDC. The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) also received significant funding – nearly $39 million, including a rural carveout totaling over $8.3 million.

The grant period ends in May 2023.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.