CDC Awards $3.5M to Ann Arbor’s National Kidney Foundation to Remove Health Barriers in Wayne County

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan nearly $3.5 million to organize a program educating underprivileged Wayne County residents on preventative health measures.

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, based in Ann Arbor, has received an award of nearly $3.5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be used over five years. The money will fund a program designed to remove barriers to health improvement.

REACH, which stands for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, is a national program administered by the CDC to address barriers to health improvement caused by race or ethnicity, education, income, location, and other social factors.

The foundation will use the funds to address preventable risk behaviors such as poor nutrition or lack of physical activity to reduce chronic disease among African Americans and Hispanic Americans in Inkster, Wayne, and Westland.

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s program, REACH for the S.T.A.R.S. (Sustained, Transformed, and Aligned Resources and Support) will address health disparities by working with community coalitions including the Inkster Task Force, Healthy Wayne, and Healthy Westland.

People at risk for chronic disease will be guided to existing programs and resources, and the coalitions will use their network of community partners to improve low-income residents’ access to health care, healthy food, and active living.

Wayne County is the most food insecure in Michigan, and among those who do not have enough food, one in three is not eligible for food assistance programs. The program will address nutrition, as improving access to food is a step in reducing the disproportionate rate of chronic diseases found in low-income neighborhoods.

The program also will address active living, or finding ways to move, including opportunities to walk or bike.

Community-clinical links will also be a priority and will allow at-risk populations to find doctors and other health-care providers who offer affordable care. It will also increase access to community health programs.

Finally, early childhood education will be addressed. Staff at day-care centers and preschools will be trained in how to engage children in healthy eating, physical activities, and creating environments that foster healthy lifestyles.

“For years, we have been involved in Inkster, applying other grant funds to do similar work,” says Charlene Cole, vice president and project director of the foundation. “The REACH for the S.T.A.R.S. grant will allow us to expand resources to neighboring Wayne and Westland. Our approach will make it easier for people at risk to improve what we already know are the important factors in maintaining health and preventing disease: healthy eating, active living, and access to health care.”

During the first year, the foundation will strategize with the coalitions and other partners. It will support the activities and focus on increasing residents’ access to programs and services during the next four years.

For more information or to become involved with the coalitions, contact Sam Shopinski atsshopinksi@nkfm.org or at 1-800-482-1455.

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan works to prevent kidney disease and improve quality of life for those living with it.

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