Congressman Tim Ryan Announces Nearly $5M for Akron Health Centers to Expand Vaccines and Deliver Equitable Care to Ohioans
Akron, OH – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today announces $4,077,875 in funding for Akron’s AxessPointe Community Health Centers and $905,625 for Akron’s Asian Services in Action (ASIA). This funding was made available through the American Rescue Plan Act, which was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Biden. The grants will be used to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.
“As cases are dropping and more Ohioans are getting vaccinated, we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But this important funding will help take us across the finish line to beat this pandemic once and for all,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “It’s been important to me to ensure our community has the resources we need to protect Ohioans, and that they are distributed equitably among folks of every race and background. I’m proud to deliver this funding to two high-quality health centers in Akron who will continue that critical work.”
“We have been holding mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics with multiple community partners throughout the area. This funding will allow us to offset the cost of facilitating these events and taking the vaccines into our communities. In doing so, we remove transportation barriers and build trust in each neighborhood. So far, we have given approximately 4,500 Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines from January through present,” says Mark Frisone, CEO of AxessPointe. “These grant dollars will help us to further expand our community partnerships and increase access to COVID-19 services. AxessPointe was one of three FQHCs in Ohio to be part of the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, which addresses health equity in vaccine delivery. Of the 4,500 vaccines given, 28% were to those living below 200% of the federal poverty level, 7% were to those whose primary language is not English, and 36% were to racial minorities.”
“The federal funding will allow us to expand capacity to address the disparity in access to COVID-19 services for a hard to reach community,” said Elaine Tso, CEO of Asian Services in Action (ASIA). “Many of the limited English proficient community members that we’re serving come to our International Community Health Center because of language access and other barriers. This grant will allow us to expand our capacity to deliver outreach, education and direct services.”
“We are grateful to the Biden Administration and Congressman Ryan for this historic investment into the health center program. We are proud to support Ohio health centers as they expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing and treatment in their communities,” says OACHC President and CEO Randy Runyon. “Health centers serve 1 in 14 Ohioans; this significant investment will bring greater health equity to the most vulnerable and ensure Ohio continues on the path of recovery.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is investing over $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan in Community Health Centers to expand access to vaccines in underserved communities. These dollars will fund nearly 1,400 HRSA-funded Community Health Centers nationwide.