How to secure ASPR grant funding
ASPR grants are offered periodically with the intent of strengthening the capabilities of hospitals and health care systems in public health emergencies and medical disasters
By Steve Buckner
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) was formerly the Office of Public Health and Emergency Preparedness. It was created under the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in an attempt to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters.
This includes, but is not limited to, all natural disasters, disease outbreaks, contamination of food or water, and terrorist attacks. ASPR grants are offered periodically with the intent of strengthening the capabilities of hospitals and health care systems in public health emergencies and medical disasters.
The office of the ASPR oversees a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (PDASPR), a Chief Operating Officer (COO), and multiple other offices which are as follows:
• Office of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
• Office of Preparedness and Emergency Operations (OPEO)
• Office of Acquisitions Management, Contracts, and Grants (AMCG)
• Office of Policy and Planning (OPP)
• Office of Financial Planning and Analysis (FPA)
This information along with all of the areas in the Office of the ASPR can be found at phe.gov and clicking on the "about ASPR" tab.
Projects that may be funded
Because of the vast area the ASPR is responsible for, there are multiple areas that could be funded by an ASPR grant. There could be a need for anything from equipment to putting together a Disaster Response Team, training for more efficient responses to disasters or terrorist attacks, preparation for municipal water contamination scenarios, vaccinations for emergency workers, or improving infrastructure of an area or a system.
For example, communications and interagency coordination in the response to a large scale event could be an area that needs improvement to be prepared for a mass casualty incident.
How to be Successful
For these grants to be awarded, there first has to be a need. Typically, it is my understanding that there are a greater number of awards to areas of higher risk or with critical infrastructure that may be targeted by terrorism.
However, almost every agency in the country has critical infrastructure in their initial response areas. Also, there have been ASPR awards that did not require any matching funds from the city that received the award. This means that an agency could implement a program for preparedness and not put any undue stress on their annual budget.
From the ASPR guidance documents that I have read, ASPR grants are usually specific in that they are for only one purpose, such as the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) or vaccinations. This varies from some other grants that may have broader guidelines.
Also, just about any agency is eligible to apply. Even "for profit" organizations may apply, though they are not allowed to make profit from the award.
What to do
The first thing to do is to identify the needs of your agency. Check the Public Health Emergency website at phe.gov. ASPR grants will be announced on the home page or you can search the site. If multiple areas of funding are needed, you may be able to seek funding for disaster preparation with ASPR and then explore funding other areas through your state health department or possibly through AFG. Information for AFG can be found at firegrantsupport.com/docs/2010_AFGguidance.pdf.
The easiest and most efficient way to check the availability of other opportunities is to continually search EMSgrantshelp.com or on grants.gov. On EMSgrantshelp.com there are multiple ways to search for a multitude of grants ranging from federal to corporate. Grants.gov is a government website and has every federal agency including Fish and Wildlife and the US Coast Guard. To narrow this down, you are able to either search with a keyword or simply browse by agency name or category.