The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness received a big boost from the federal government today, according to Mayor Jerry Abramson and Congressman John Yarmuth, who told the media that Louisville has received a $7.9 million grant to help the city achieve its health goals.
Earlier this week LEO Weekly reported that an announcement by First Lady Michelle Obama would bring good news for a number of initiatives in the health department. And the hefty grant is expected to fund 23 city-wide projects that will, among other things, make healthier foods available in schools, improve physical education programs, build community infrastructure to encourage biking and walking, and make fresh produce more readily available by implementing “Healthy in a Hurry” stores in “food desert” neighborhoods.
“We’ll be able to purchase a mobile grocery store to sell fresh fruits and vegetables to make them available in low-income neighborhoods,” says Abramson. “The bottom line is with the congressman’s guidance and the leadership of Dr. (Adewale) Troutman, this grant is focused in that direction to ensure the health of the overall community.”
The award demonstrates that the federal government is recognizing the city for implementing a range of health policies, says Abramson.
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and funded by the federal stimulus program, about $373 million was awarded to 44 different cities across the country through the Communities Putting Prevention To Work, which is among the stimulus package’s more competitive grants.
“The purpose of these programs is to make sure we’re healthier and that our citizens have the tools with which they can keep themselves healthy and in so doing make themselves more productive and reduce health care costs, ” says Congressman Yarmuth. “We’re very excited about this very, very large grant and using these funds to make Louisville a better place.”
The health department will administer the grant and the community projects funded by federal funds include (among other things):
Increase student participation in National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. Support the development of neighborhood-based projects that produce and sell local food products in “food deserts” Reformulate JCPS recipes to reduce the use of sugar and sodium in line with Institute of Medicine recommendations Increase student input into food and beverage choices for children in school Adopt and implement local “menu labeling” policies for establishments that sell prepared food Conduct “Food Fight” social marketing campaign Implement Louisville Metro Government workplace breastfeeding policies Increase access to Louisville Metro Parks and Louisville Loop Increase access to Louisville Metro Parks and Louisville Loop using public transit Increase public safety measures in Metro Parks and Louisville Loop Institute an Advisory Council on Food Policy Develop a joint Master’s Degree in Public Health and Urban Planning at the University of Louisville Develop a community-wide media campaign to increase physical activity and improve nutrition