Olthoff: bill to improve public health passes out of key committee

Posted by: Josh DeFonce  | Wednesday, February 3, 2021 10:00 am

 STATEHOUSE (Feb. 3, 2021) – A bill establishing a new public health grant program took a step forward Monday with the support of the House Public Health Committee, according to State Rep. Julie Olthoff (R-Crown Point).

Olthoff, a member of the committee, said the grant program would fund initiatives aimed at addressing the most challenging health disparities in Indiana. According to the United Health Foundation's 2020 American Health Ranking, Indiana falls at the bottom of numerous categories, including smoking rates, obesity rates, physical inactivity and multiple chronic conditions.

"Finding solutions to Indiana's public health issues remains a priority," Olthoff said. "Being at the bottom for health rankings is not where we want to be as a state, and this legislation will build on our efforts to address the most challenging health disparities and help fund initiatives on behalf of Hoosiers in need."

According to Olthoff, 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. She 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.

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 House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration. To learn more about House Bill 1007 and watch legislative proceedings online, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Julie Olthoff (R-Crown Point) represents House District 19,
which includes a portion of Lake and Porter counties.
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here to download a high-resolution photo.