By Julian Pecquet - 08/31/11 05:32 PM EDT
The Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday awarded $40 million to health departments and schools of public health to help train and educate public health workers.
Most of the grant money was included in a provision of Democrats' healthcare reform law that some Republicans have derided as a preventive care "slush fund." The grants awarded Wednesday will fund state and local public health programs and support 10 Public Health Training Centers.
"In a challenging economy, public health training and education are vital in our efforts to ensure access to affordable, high-quality health care," Health Resources and Services Administration head Mary Wakefield said in a statement. "These grants provide learning opportunities that enhance technical, scientific, managerial, and leadership skills of public health workers, and help build a strong, well-rounded public health workforce for the future."