Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alabama Strategic Alliance For Health Program Will Work To Create A Healthier BlackBelt/West Alabama

“The state's Black Belt and West Alabama counties will receive federal funding of up to $3.9 million over the next five years through the Alabama Strategic Alliance for Health Program to help reduce chronic diseases and health disparities. U.S. Rep. Artur Davis will be present for a news conference at the Perry County Health Department to kick off the program at 10 a.m. Monday.West Alabama and the Black Belt Region were identified for this program because its residents include predominantly African American, economically disadvantaged populations which have significant evidence of health disparities. This is a geographic region in which 75 percent of the population is either overweight or obese, 40 percent have hypertension, and 14 percent have diabetes. Thanks to this new funding, initiatives will target the creation of healthier communities through the AL Strategic Alliance Program. Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, said, ‘This funding opportunity will help local communities launch health promotion and chronic disease prevention initiatives which are sustainable, evidence-based and practice-based. Many chronic health conditions are not distributed equally across racial and ethnic groups.’ An overarching goal of the AL Strategic Alliance Program will be to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health. Chronic diseases represent a major public health challenge in Alabama, so initiatives will target obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and the risk factors of nutrition, physical activity and tobacco. As a result, the incidence and complications from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity will be reduced. To assure efficient use of program resources and sustainable long-term outcomes, interventions will focus on policy, systems, and environmental changes in communities. Program initiatives will also target access to quality healthcare and use of preventive health care in rural Black Belt and West Alabama communities.”


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