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HEALTH Announces Centers for Health Equity Grants

PROVIDENCE - Where you live makes a big difference in how healthy you are likely to be. If you live in a place without safe sidewalks for walking, or without grocery stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, you may find it hard to eat right and exercise. If you do not eat right and exercise, you may become overweight or even obese. If you become overweight or obese, you are more likely to develop some kinds of cancer and diabetes… and if you have diabetes, you are more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) will address the environments in which people live through the awarding of $100,000 grants to eight community-based organizations serving low-income neighborhoods in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls. These grants are made through federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funds.

"The way to make Rhode Island the healthiest state in the union is to meet people where they are, in their neighborhoods and their communities," said Michael Fine, M.D., director of HEALTH. "Our goal is to help them build collaborations, and to make lifestyles, homes, neighbors and communities safer."

HEALTH has awarded grants to the City of Providence, Olneyville Housing Corporation, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, all of which will work on building healthy and safe sustainable communities. These agencies will collaborate to develop strategies and policies that impact the availability of resources to meet daily needs like housing, education, job opportunities, and food security. These efforts will impact the community structure, such as parks and transportation, which also affect the natural environment.

Clinica Esperanza, Family Service of RI, the Providence Center, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and the Providence Plan (Ready To Learn Program) will implement evidence-based programs addressing chronic disease and its risk factors, as well as maternal child health priorities. This work will address health improvements that can be achieved through population-based and individual actions, as well as systems-based, environmental, health service, and policy interventions. These interventions will further advance the National Prevention Strategy and RI Maternal and Child Health priorities at the local level.

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