Health Department, Energize Everett Get High Honors from U.S. Surgeon General

Pictured at the event, from left: Everett Director of Public Health Roberto Santamaria, Cambridge Chief Public Health Officer Claude-Alix Jacob, Medford Director of Public Health & Elder Affairs Karen Rose, Melrose/Wakefield Health Director Ruth Clay, Hudson Board of Health Agent Sam Wong, and Somerville Health Director Paulette Renault-Caragianes.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria Jr., Roberto Santamaria, Director of Public Health, Jackie Coogan, Executive Director of the Joint Committee for Children’s Healthcare in Everett and the team from Energize Everett were honored last month with a Golden Shoe Award at WalkBoston’s Annual Meeting for their efforts to get Everett healthy.  The Energize Everett program was chosen for the WalkBoston Golden Shoe Award for its work to increase access to healthier foods and lifestyles.

Energize Everett has been working with area grocery stores, restaurants and convenience stores to improve access to healthier food.  Incorporating the WalkBoston map will show residents that the nearest grocery store, or park, or corner store is only a few minutes walk and will encourage walking to a destination rather than driving or taking a bus.

WalkBoston is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts.  The Energize Everett team is receiving the award for their continuing work to improve walking conditions and encourage exercise in the City.

This year City was recently chosen by WalkBoston to receive an official WalkBoston Map designed specifically for Everett.  The map will show healthy and safe walking routes to popular spots, shops and restaurants through out Everett.

City to receive portion of $1.6M Community Transformation Grant

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin on Friday announced a $1.6 million federal health grant to combat obesity and tobacco use in Middlesex County.

The Community Transformation Grant, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC,) is an opportunity for cities and towns across the nation to support, promote and implement healthier lifestyle choices, reduce the risk of major health ailments and increase access to healthy food.  According to the CDC’s website:

Community Transformation Grants (CTGs) are authorized under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 for state and local governmental agencies, tribes and territories, and national- and community-based organizations.

The CTGs will support the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base for effective prevention programming.

The purpose of this grant, according to the CDC, is to create healthier communities by building capacity to implement broad evidence and practice-based policy, environmental, programmatic and infrastructure changes, as appropriate, in large counties, and in states, tribes and territories, including in rural and frontier areas. Supporting implementation of such interventions in five strategic areas (Strategic Directions) aligning with Healthy People 2020 focus areas and achieving demonstrated progress in the following five performance measures outlined in the Affordable Care Act: 1) changes in weight, 2) changes in proper nutrition, 3) changes in physical activity, 4) changes in tobacco use prevalence, and 5) changes in emotional well being and overall mental health, as well as other program-specific measures.

The City, through the Health Department and Energize Everett will use its portion of the grant funds to focus on three key strategic areas, as outlined by the CDC: Increase accessibility, availability and affordability of healthy foods in the community; Increase, promote and implement more opportunities for physical activities in the City; and, working with the City Legislature and Site Plan Review, Planning and Zoning Boards, establish community design standards to make streets and sidewalks safe for all users, plus increase access to walking paths, bike paths and commuter transit.

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