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The Allegheny County Health Department has been awarded a $150,000 two-year grant from the Jefferson Foundation to launch the Live Well Allegheny Mon Valley Initiative.
The funding will aid the ACHD and its partners to increase the number of people in the Mon Valley with access to smoke-free and tobacco-free environments, access to healthy food and beverage options, and access to physical activity opportunities.
"We are so excited to be able to work with partners in the Mon Valley to address disparities in chronic disease outcomes," said health department director Dr. Karen Hacker. "The Jefferson Foundation is providing us with the resources but our partners are the real drivers of this collaboration."
The municipalities of the Mon Valley were greatly impacted by the collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s. Despite proximity to Pittsburgh, the communities of the Mon Valley have a disproportionate burden of chronic disease --- including cancer, heart disease, obesity and smoking --- compared to the county as a whole.
Many of Allegheny County’s neediest residents, about 64,000, live in the municipalities of the Monongahela River Valley, particularly in communities with the highest poverty rates.
To reach its goals, the funding for the Live Well Allegheny Mon Valley Initiative will be used to launch a targeted effort focused on the municipalities, schools and businesses of the Mon Valley to include outreach to communities, schools and employers, a mini-grant program; and a Learning Collaborative all aimed at increasing opportunities for living healthier lifestyles.
Live Well Allegheny Mon Valley Initiative partners include Allegheny Health Network, Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Steel Valley Council of Governments, the Human Services Center Corporation, Tobacco Free Allegheny, Just Harvest, Allegheny County Economic Development Department, and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Live Well Allegheny was launched by the County Executive in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Hacker.
To learn more about Live Well Allegheny visit www.livewellallegheny.com.
Originally published September 14, 2015.