The primary source of federal funding for public health has dwindled significantly as risks to our health increase, according to a new report. And New Jersey residents are currently getting the shortest end of the stick.

In Fiscal Year 2018, New Jersey received the lowest amount of funding per capita ($17.09) from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, finds the report from Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit health policy organization based in Washington, D.C. The report summarizes information from scores of different grant programs — some of which are competitive, and some of which are based on a formula that takes into account factors such as population and risk.

New Jersey ranked 15th among the states in total dollars from the CDC ($152.2 million), to help with programs aimed at improving health, preventing disease, and preparing for potential disasters and major health emergencies.

In an emailed comment to the Townsquare News Network, the state Department of Health said it relies heavily on the funding and expertise of the CDC.

"We continue to advocate for New Jersey with the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and our other federal partners to apply for every feasible opportunity to get more dollars," DOH said.

Last week, the Department applied for a $7.43 million CDC grant that would support overdose prevention and recovery services and enhance surveillance and data collection in the state. Another recent application from the state shoots for $6.3 million to cover a variety of epidemiological activities including influenza, tick-borne diseases, West Nile and food-borne diseases.

"The Murphy Administration recognizes the essential role of public health in preventing diseases like measles and protecting the public during health emergencies and natural disasters. That's why an additional $2.5 million is included in the FY2020 Department budget to strengthen our local health departments," DOH said.

State public health funding, according to the TFAH report, increased 5.2% in New Jersey from fiscal years 2017 to 2018.

The state, with a population of 9 million, devoted more than $251 million to public health in fiscal year 2018, the report said. In Massachusetts, where about 6 million people live, public health received funding in excess of $523 million.

"In order to increase the health of the population, policymakers in the state may want to consider how much they invest in this worthwhile cause," John Auerbach, TFAH president and CEO, told New Jersey 101.5.

The report noted that program funding for the CDC — more than half of which goes to states, localities and other nonfederal partners — has decreased by 10% over the past decade.

"At the same time, substance misuse has skyrocketed, the incidence of obesity and related health problems continue to climb, and the threat of weather-related emergencies is on the rise," the report said.

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