Washington DC U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday $1,164,213 in grant funding, partly supported by the Affordable Care Act, to the Pennsylvania State Department of Health and to the City of Philadelphia Public Health Department to enhance Pennsylvania's public health infrastructure and strengthen its public health workforce.

Awarded in nearly every state, this funding will improve the delivery of necessary public health services in communities, cities and states across the country.

Of the total, $500,000 will go to the Department of Health and $664,213 to the City of Philadelphia Public Health Department.

"These funds will help health departments around the country maximize the impact of the essential services they provide every day, and build the public health workforce to ensure we're ready to meet the public health challenges of tomorrow," said Secretary Sebelius. "Strengthening our nation's public health system is critical to protecting the health of all Americans."

The grants will fund key State and local public health programs in Pennsylvania supported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of these grant dollars come from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.

This is the second year of CDC's 5-year program known as the National Public Health Improvement Initiative (NPHII) Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure for Improved Health Outcomes grant program. Over 100 people across the country have already been hired through the NPHII and additional positions are expected to be filled through today's awards.

The NPHII funding allows health departments to improve the delivery and impact of the public health services they provide by improving how they track the performance of their programs; fostering the identification, dissemination and adoption of public health's best and most promising practices; building a network of performance improvement managers across the country that share strategies for improving the public health system; and maximizing cohesion across states' and communities' public health systems to ensure seamless and coordinated services for residents.

"A strong, efficient, and effective public health system is critical for building a healthy society," said CDC Director, Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Investing in preventive services, system improvement and comprehensive interventions is essential to reducing the burden of health care costs in the future."

Today's announcement is another part of the Obama Administration's broader effort to improve the health and well-being of our communities through initiatives, such as the President's Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady's Let's Move! campaign, the National Quality Strategy, and the National Prevention Strategy.

For more information please visit http://www.cdc.gov/ostlts/nphii.