The Rhode Island Department of Health was awarded a grant of $3.5 million to support implementation of population-wide and priority population approaches to prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease and stroke, and reduce health disparities in these areas among adults on a statewide basis.
The State and Local Public Health Actions to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease awards are part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiative to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will administer the grants, which will run for 4 years, subject to availability of funds.
Overall, HHS awarded $69.5 million in new grant awards to 21 state and large-city health departments to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke and reduce health disparities among adults through combined efforts of communities and health systems. The State and Local Public Health Actions awards are financed by the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act. This new program complements and expands on a state-level program, State Public Health Actions, that began in 2013.
"The Department of Health is responsible for providing leadership and technical assistance to selected communities since fifty percent of these funds will be awarded to communities. We will ensure overall coordination in four key areas that are common to multiple disease and risk factor prevention programs such as, epidemiology and surveillance, environmental approaches, health system improvements and community-clinical linkages to enhance coordination across program activities for the greatest public health impact and to maximize these investments" said, Ana Novais, MA, Executive Director of Health.
States will sub-award half of their funds to support activities in four to eight communities each. Community approaches will build support for lifestyle change, particularly for those at high risk, to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Health system efforts will focus on linking community programs to clinical services for populations with the largest disparities in high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.
Specifically, the work that communities will do to have a statewide impact will be to employ strategies that promote health, support and reinforce healthful behaviors, and build support for healthy living for the general population and particularly for those with uncontrolled high blood pressure and those at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Priority populations include people with racial/ethnic or socioeconomic disparities, including inadequate access to care, poor quality of care, or low income.
"Achieving the best preventive health care is vital to successful health outcomes. Primary care providers supports the work of the health care system through provision of services such as mammography and tobacco cessation counseling for underserved populations, work on issues of health care access, planned care, self-management, patient navigation, and quality prevention services. Through community-based public health efforts that support intensive and sustained interventions that include health care settings, together we can improve population health outcomes," said Michael Fine, MD, Director of Health. "In this country, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death, disability, and health care costs, accounting for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and more than 80 percent of the $2.7 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care."
To learn more about Rhode Island's prevention and wellness projects, visit www.health.ri.gov. ###