The Charlotte-based has announced grants of $450,000 over three years to five coalitions working to improve the health of North Carolinians as part of a new initiative called Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas.
Taking a community-based approach to chronic health issues such as overweight, diabetes, and heart disease, the initiative will bring together leaders from hospitals, county health departments, and other health-promoting organizations and build on existing work led by state leaders to improve the health of the state's population. Initial grants awarded through the initiative will support efforts in Catawba, Chatham, Granville/Vance, Montgomery/Richmond, and Wilkes counties, with the funds to be used to strengthen the infrastructure of local coalitions that are coordinating public health-related efforts in those counties, enabling them to better identify and implement health interventions that work.
According to the endowment, rates of heart disease, diabetes, and unhealthy weight are high across the Carolinas, with nearly a third of the population of North and South Carolina considered obese.
"The health challenges facing the Carolinas have been decades in the making," said Mary Piepenbring, vice president of the endowment. "They cannot be solved by individuals and organizations working alone. The Duke Endowment has been a longtime supporter of statewide health efforts such as the Healthy NC 2020 plan and the Alliance for a Healthier SC. Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas builds on those successful efforts by targeting resources to communities that have considerable health needs, but also proven ability to take on local challenges."