Originally published Dec. 27, 2011
Nationwide, recent reports suggest that for the first time ever, as a result of rising obesity rates, children may not outlive their parents. In Cobb County, cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of mortality along with preventable injuries including motor vehicle crashes, homicide and suicide Behavioral survey data indicates that too few Cobb County residents are receiving preventable medical screenings while many are practicing behaviors that put them at higher risk for chronic illnesses or death.
These factors clearly indicate that there is work to be done when it comes to community health. Cobb County community leaders clearly understand that improving the overall health of the county requires commitment and support from everyone. In fact, that concept was put into action recently and has resulted in a community-wide strategic planning process for improving health called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP).
Fortunately, Cobb County is receiving additional support in its fight to improve community health. Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) was recently awarded a $499,000 grant to help create a healthier community for the residents of Cobb County by building upon the MAPP process. The funds will be used to educate the community on the benefits of healthy living, and to support a plan designed to increase wellness policies and environmental prevention efforts to reduce chronic disease within the county.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Community Transformation Grant (CTG) will support the design and delivery of state and community projects proven to reduce chronic diseases—such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
“This award will take the work that Cobb County’s preventive health providers and community coalitions are already doing to the next level,” said Jack Kennedy, M.D., District Health Director, Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department. “It will also enable us to continue to build on our unified vision and community health transformation plan that better links preventive services to reduce chronic disease.”
The MAPP process, which was launched in early spring, was implemented and facilitated by CDPH leadership. Chaired by Jay Dillon, Director of Communications for Cobb County School District, the team is charged with navigating Cobb County through a process that will lead to a healthier and safer community. “It is amazing to be a part of such an important and essential collaborative effort dedicated to making our community better, I’m excited about where we are going,” said Dillon. Other representation on the committee includes hospital systems, physicians and other health care providers, local government, schools, chambers of commerce, businesses, churches, civic organizations and non-profits.
“I believe that having healthy people in healthy communities, is not a goal that can be accomplished by one agency or health district alone — or even by a few large organizations working together,” said Dr. Kennedy. “The ownership, collaboration and level of commitment that we have gotten from our community partners clearly indicate that they are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to make our community healthier.”
According to Dr. Kennedy, prevention efforts will target tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating, quality preventive services, social and emotional wellness, and healthy and safe physical environments. “These funds will help us go a long way in improving the overall health of our community.”
The population-based awards are distributed among state and local government agencies, tribes and territories, and state and local non-profit organizations. Awards went to grantees in 36 states, with only a handful being awarded to individual counties. The grants are expected to run for five years, with projects expanding their scope and reach over time as resources permit. The district is looking into funding opportunities for Douglas County.
“This is truly an effort that could change Cobb County forever,” said Dillon. “This is an opportunity to develop a legacy of good health that could potentially impact generations to come.”
To learn more about Cobb & Douglas Public Health, visitwww.CobbAndDouglasPublicHealth.org.
For more information about Community Transformation Grants, visit