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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

East Tennessee’s Institute of Public Health Healthy Middle TN Project Funded by BlueCross BlueShield

The Tennessee Institute of Public Health (TNIPH) at the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health has been awarded a grant from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

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[Photo: Ms. Ginny Kidwell]

This proposal will build on the progress of TNIPH’s original Regional Roadmap for a Healthier Appalachian Tennessee project and the subsequent Healthy WEST: Working to Energize & Strengthen Tennessee and Regional Roadmap 2: Down the Road to a Healthier Appalachia projects. The Healthy Middle TN project will expand this highly successful model of community-building into 21 counties in Middle Tennessee.  The new project will be the fourth phase of the Regional Roadmap program to be implemented across the state.

The original Regional Roadmap for a Healthier Appalachian Tennessee project strengthened community-based efforts to improve health, wellness and prevention in the identified distressed and at-risk Tennessee counties of Appalachian Tennessee by offering training, technical assistance, and mini-grants to enhance multi-sector collaboration.

The second phase, Healthy WEST: Working to Energize and Strengthen Tennessee, expanded the Regional Roadmap project to rural counties in west Tennessee.  The third phase, Regional Roadmap 2:  Down the Road to a Healthier Appalachia, allowed the Tennessee Institute of Public Health to continue and expand the grants to community coalitions with proven leadership in multi-sector collaboration.

These three phases of mini-grant projects are near completion and have extended deep into the fifty-two (52) Appalachian counties in East and Middle Tennessee and into twenty (20) West Tennessee counties where similar unhealthy lifestyles and other serious challenges exist. Funding for this fourth phase will mean this project has expanded its outreach into all of Tennessee’s counties with the exception of Shelby (Memphis) and Davidson (Nashville).

“Public health is the third critical component, along with education and economic development, for significantly improving overall quality of life in our communities, state and nation,” said Ms. Ginny Kidwell, Executive Director of the Institute.

The Regional Roadmap projects have successfully targeted local partners from the economic development, human services, education, public health and healthcare, non-profit and other sectors to offer funding for community-based health initiatives in rural Tennessee.

“Our goal with this project is to further expand and strengthen community-based efforts to improve health, wellness and prevention at the grassroots level across Tennessee. Greater involvement leads to health outcomes that effectively address locally identified issues,” she said.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation aims to support projects that reflect the foundation’s mission and emphasize healthy living, health care access and quality of life. It funds projects that emphasize solutions and be easy to measure, serve a need for a large population, promote community involvement and participation that can be replicated, and connect multiple diverse organizations, causes and groups of individuals.