AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Development Foundation, specifically its Maine Downtown Center, in collaboration with MCD Public Health, recently announced it has been awarded a grant of $1.641 million to launch Healthy Maine Streets, a program to support health and wellness in Maine’s small communities.
The grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Transformation Grants (CTG) to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending in small communities.
Healthy Maine Streets will build on the Maine Downtown Center’s well-established downtown revitalization framework of Main Street Maine organizations and Maine Downtown Network programs to leverage community health improvements in a number of mostly rural towns, with a combined population of 180,000. Through Healthy Maine Streets, local Wellness Councils will be established to addresses disparate health access and outcomes for employees of small businesses, which are the heart and soul of small town Main Streets. These downtown organizations are woven into the fabric of the community, and improvements will be felt by employees, their families, customers, and the community.
The Community Transformation Grant will bring communities and small businesses together to create a wellness program in the heart of Maine’s downtowns that is shared by small businesses and eventually reshapes our communities into more healthy, vibrant places to work and live. The program addresses the critical need to improve health and wellness in Maine communities and the high cost of health care for small businesses.
Support from the business community, school districts, community-based organizations, and other non-traditional partners is critical to reducing deaths and health costs due to heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and other serious health problems. Small businesses may be eligible for Health Insurance Rebates and State of Maine tax credit and to be an employer of choice improving employee retention and recruitment.
Awardees will conduct activities in one or more areas that contribute to the overall goals of the CTG program and help achieve positive changes in one or more of the following outcome measures: 1) weight, 2) proper nutrition, 3) physical activity, 4) tobacco use, and 5) social and emotional well-being.
The Community Transformation Grants are one piece of a broader effort by the Obama Administration to address the health and well-being of U.S. communities through initiatives such as the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Campaign, the National Prevention Strategy, the National Quality Strategy, and HHS’ Million Hearts ™ initiative. The Prevention and Public Health Fund, as part of the Affordable Care Act, is supporting the CTG program and other initiatives designed to expand and sustain the necessary capacity to prevent chronic diseases, detect them early, manage conditions, before they become severe, and provide states and communities the resources they need to promote healthy living.
Visit www.mcdph.org for information.