The Mecklenburg County Public Health Department’s Office of Community Engagement has been selected to receive $25,000 as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Spotlight Award. Ten winners and five honorable mentions were selected for their ability to address the need to improve opportunities for all residents – regardless of income, education or ethnic background – to take an active role in healthy living.
Mecklenburg County has been highlighted as a Spotlight Award winner for identifying creative community partnerships through the Village HeartB.E.A.T. (Building Education Accountability Together) program to address the health issues facing the county. There are 49 churches competing in the 2018 Season and over 60 churches in the Village HeartB.E.A.T. network that are setting goals toward becoming healthy.
The program has tackled community-specific health disparities head-on and developed practical, evidence-based strategies to improve health conditions and promote healthy living. Village HeartB.E.A.T. uses a combination of physical exercise and education to improve/maintain participants’ biometrics such as weight, BMI, blood pressure and hemoglobin A1c.
The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is an initiative that was launched in 2016 by the Aetna Foundation, along with the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties. The Challenge empowers 50 small-to-midsize cities and counties to implement innovative solutions for their local public health issues.
The 50 cities and counties that competed were chosen based on strategies to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five areas: healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures. For more information on the Spotlight Awards, the recognized organizations and the Challenge, visit www.healthiestcities.org.
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