In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the award of a multi-year Community Transformation Grant to the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) on behalf of three local public health departments — Jackson County, Independence and Kansas City, Mo.
The grant funds support efforts to reduce chronic disease and create healthier communities, with a focus on tobacco-free living, active lifestyles, healthy eating, increased preventive care, and a healthier, safer physical environment.
The Community Transformation Grant program, authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, was developed to support the planning and implementation of state and community projects that reduce chronic illnesses, reduce disparities in health care and control health-care spending.
In the United States, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes account for 70 percent of all deaths each year and 75 percent of all medical costs. “Many of these diseases are preventable,” said Marlene Nagel, MARC’s community development director. “This grant offers area health departments the opportunity to not only improve the health of residents in their communities, but also help control overall health care spending.”
The grant partners are "Building a Healthier Jackson County" by working with a broad cross-section of community stakeholders and a regional consortium of public health directors, the Metropolitan Official Health Agencies of the Kansas City Area (MOHAKCA ), to implement evidence-based strategies designed to help protect residents from second-hand smoke and reduce tobacco use; increase the availability of healthful foods in community and institutional settings; increase opportunities for physical activity; provide training and technical assistance to health-care providers; and promote community design standards that encourage active transportation options, like walking and biking.