Morgan County lawmakers support bill to improve public health

Posted by: Wade Coggeshall and Samantha Holifield  | Tuesday, March 2, 2021

STATEHOUSE (March 2, 2021) – The Indiana House of Representatives recently voted in support of legislation establishing a new public health grant program, according to Morgan County legislators.

"The health disparities among many Hoosiers has really been exposed during the pandemic," said State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville). "Addressing these issues would help put Indiana in a better position socially and economically, and that's why it's a priority this legislative session."

State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) said the program would fund initiatives aimed at addressing the most challenging health issues in Indiana. According to the United Health Foundation's 2020 American Health Ranking, Indiana falls at the bottom of several categories, including smoking rates, obesity rates, physical inactivity and multiple chronic conditions.

"Tackling our most common health concerns is important if we want Indiana to continue thriving," Baird said. "Previous efforts on this front have shown success, and I'm optimistic we can see more by focusing research and expertise on these persistent health issues."

According to State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin), the grant program is based on the state's successful Safety PIN program, which provides funding to local health organizations to lower Indiana's infant mortality rate. He said through Safety PIN and other targeted programs, Indiana reached a record-low infant mortality rate last year for the first time in our state's history.

"Grants like these could help local organizations develop innovative plans to help Hoosiers take a step to become healthier," Young said. "We've seen great success lowering our infant mortality rate with a similar program, and I am hopeful a health grant will yield similar results.”

The Indiana Department of Health would administer the new grant program, giving preference to proposals seeking to focus on chronic health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Grants could be used for both new and existing programs and initiatives.

House Bill 1007 now moves to the Senate for further consideration. To learn more and watch legislative proceedings online, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) represents House District 60,
which includes portions of Morgan and Monroe counties.
Click here for a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) represents House District 44, which includes
all of Putnam County and portions of Clay, Morgan, Owen and Parke counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. John Young (R-Franklin) represents House District 47,
which includes portions of Johnson and Morgan counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.