Georgia Initiative to Address Higher Heart Attack Rate Among Some Black Residents
Georgia's Fulton County Health Department and 90 community organizations have launched a $3.8 million, four-year effort, known as Reach for Wellness, to curb heart disease and "premature death" among African Americans in Atlanta's "Empowerment Zone," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The Empowerment Zone is made up of 30 of Atlanta's poorest neighborhoods and has been targeted for $250 million in federal funding and tax breaks for community revitalization and economic development. Blacks living in that area are more likely than other county residents to be hospitalized for hypertension, and "die of the disease at a higher rate than whites and generally live shorter lives, too," the Journal-Constitution reports. Reach for Wellness will encompass public awareness education, "accessible health programs and services, and health-friendly public policy advocacy." The initiative is part of the CDC's Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health 2010 initiative, which aims to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities within the next 10 years. Each year, Reach for Wellness will spend $960,000 to address primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as physical inactivity, obesity and smoking. To that end, the community organizations will promote physical activity, community nutrition education, smoking prevention and cessation and stress management. Fulton Health Director Adewale Troutman said, "This is something that has to succeed. It's unconscionable that African Americans die at a faster rate than others simply because of things that should not make a difference. Those things should not be part of the equation (of) whether a person lives or dies" (Reid, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.