YMCA of the USA was awarded a Federal grant of $6.5 million over the course of five years, contingent upon annual federal appropriations, to advance policy, environmental, programmatic and infrastructure strategies related to active living and healthy eating, tobacco-free living, clinical and other preventive services, social and emotional wellness, and healthy and safe physical environments, with a focus on serving African-American and Hispanics/Latinos nationwide.
This grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Community Transformation Grants (CTG) program to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and lower health care costs.
The CTG program is focused on implementing evidence-based strategies in five areas: 1) tobacco-free living; 2) active living and healthy eating; 3) evidence-based quality clinical and other preventive services, specifically prevention and control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol; 4) social and emotional wellness, such as facilitating early identification of mental health needs and access to quality services, especially for people with chronic conditions; and 5) healthy and safe physical environments. By promoting healthy lifestyles and communities, especially among population groups experiencing the greatest burden of chronic disease, CTGs will help improve health, reduce health disparities and lower health care costs.
YMCA of the USA, the national resource office of the Y – a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility – is one of seven national networks of community-based organizations that are receiving awards for the National Dissemination and Support Initiative of the CTG program. These funded organizations will help support, disseminate and amplify the evidence-based strategies of the CTG program in communities nationwide, including in rural and frontier areas and in those areas with health disparities.
"Confronting the nation's rising chronic disease rates requires that we support individuals and communities in making better choices and that communities work together to address the underlying conditions that contribute to declining health and well-being, particularly for those with limited access to the programs and resources needed to attain and maintain a healthier lifestyle," said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. "It has never been more important to implement strategies that keep people well and keep health spending down. This Community Transformation Grant will allow the Y to expand its work to help all Americans take steps to prevent chronic disease and live longer, healthier lives."
There are two types of awards for organizations under this initiative - Dissemination and Acceleration:
Specifically, YMCA of the USA will expand the work of its Healthier Communities Initiatives which bring together community leaders to create policy, system and environmental changes that make the healthy choice the easy choice. The Y has convened about 200 community leadership teams with the support of the CDC's Healthy Communities Program and other foundation supporters.
To date, communities involved in these initiatives have reported that they have influenced a collective 14,500 strategies nationwide that help people increase their physical activity, eat healthier and reduce their exposure to tobacco smoke, including: