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  • Private-public partnership secures grant to boost physical activity:

    May 09, 2013 | Read More News
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    The Arizona Business Coalition on Health has been awarded a nearly $50,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and United Health Foundation to improve health among Pima County residents through increased physical activity. The Loop

    Through a program of the National Business Coalition on Health, the award will provide the Coalition and its partners with resources to engage employers,community organizations and local health systems in a community health and wellness summit this summer to develop a plan to increase physical activity.

    “Our focus will be on how to engage all of Pima County –including employees, dependents, seniors, youth and neighborhoods – in increased physical activity,” said Larry Aldrich, executive director of the Coalition. “While Tucson is known for its healthy lifestyles and walkable communities, there is still great opportunity for improving health and reducing chronic disease through increased physical activity. This grant will help launch us into an even more active and healthy future for all residents.”

    In collaboration with the Pima County Health Department, the Coalition will work with partner organizations to identify best practices for increasing physical activity leading up to a Health and Wellness Summit in August 2013. The goal of the summit is to produce a plan to improve health through increased physical activity while also developing a model that will connect ongoing health planning efforts throughout the County.

    From the County’s perspective, the project builds on ongoinginvestments in providing opportunities for healthier lifestyles, from linear parks to the Urban Loop System, a 55-mile continuous path around metropolitan Tucson that draws walkers, joggers and cyclists. It also continues the workdone from 2010- 2012 when the County and several partners received the fourth largest award in the United States, at $16 million, under the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.

    “The Pima County Health Department is eager to work with the business community and community partners on the launch and implementation of this important initiative that will involve employers, health care professionals, elected officials and other stakeholders in a collaborative effort to improve the health and wellness of all Pima County residents,” said Pima County Public Health Director Francisco García.

    Reed Tuckson, MD, senior advisor for United Health Foundation, added, “Supporting and nurturing businesses to engage with their communities to identify and address priority local health issues is the first step in solving them. We believe that these partnerships, supported by the combined efforts of the United Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, will produce real, meaningful health enhancements."

    The Coalition will use information from existing health assessments to identify measures that will best evaluate progress towards achieving the community health planning objectives produced by the planning effort. In addition, participating members in the Summit will be asked to commit to a specific activity to encourage increased physical activity amongtheir employees or in their communities.

    ”The road to better health for our towns, counties, states and the nation is paved with collaboration,” said Paul Kuehnert,  DNP,  RN, Team Director and Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We can make significant progress on the health problems we face if the business community and leaders in public health, government, education, philanthropy and other sectors work together. These new grants will help inspire the changes we know need to happen to improve health.”