Community Transformation

by Bonnie Paris, Quality Quest for Health of Illinois

A $2.4 million Community Transformation Grant (CTG) from the Centers for Disease Control will be used to reduce obesity, increase adherence to preventive care recommendations, and decrease death and disability due to tobacco use, heart disease and stroke in Peoria and Tazewell counties. Quality Quest for Health of Illinois applied for the two-year funding on behalf of 14 collaborative partners that came together as the Partnership for a Healthy Community.

Collaboration partners include the Central Illinois Wellness Council, Peoria City/County Health Department, Tazewell County Health Department, City of Peoria, YMCA, George Washington Carver Association, Hult Center for Health Education, Gifts in the Moment, Family Core, Heartland Community Health Clinic, American Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter, Children’s Hospital of Illinois, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, Center for Outcomes Research and Quality Quest.

In the United States, chronic diseases—such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes—are the leading causes of death, disability and healthcare costs, accounting for 70 percent of all deaths each year and 75 percent of the $2.5 trillion spent annually on healthcare. In Peoria and Tazewell counties, the leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lower respiratory disease. While chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health problems in the country, they are also among the most preventable.

This grant supports public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities and control healthcare spending in small communities. By focusing on where people live, work, learn and play, the CTG program is expected to improve the health of more than four out of 10 U.S. citizens—about 130 million Americans.

Locally, the grant builds on the work of Quality Quest and the Central Illinois Wellness Council (CIWC). CIWC resulted from a merging of the Quest Healthy Lifestyles School Project and the Peoria City/County Health Department’s strategic priorities group. The grant will fund a variety of activities that CIWC collaborators have in the works and will expand on those efforts.

The Partnership for a Healthy Community will improve the health of more than 300,000 residents in central Illinois through a combination of efforts. People need information, tools, resources and a supportive environment to make healthy lifestyle changes. There are interventions available for youth, adults and families, as well as healthcare providers.

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 Partnership for a Healthy Community will address nine key issues to reduce premature death and avoid disability through:

  • Tobacco-free living
  • Breastfeeding education and promotion
  • Proper nutrition in schools
  • Physical activity in schools
  • Proper nutrition in the community
  • Physical activity in the community
  • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation use
  • School-based dental sealant program
  • Social and emotional wellness. iBi

Bonnie Paris is the program development manager and Community Transformation Grant principal investigator at Quality Quest for Health of Illinois. To learn more about Quality Quest’s prevention and wellness projects, visit qualityquest.org.

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