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September 15, 2005

Minority health center receives $500,000 grant

Pitt’s Center for Minority Health (CMH), part of the Graduate School of Public Health, has received a $500,000 matching grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in support of its Healthy Black Family Project (HBFP), an intervention designed to prevent diabetes and hypertension in African-American neighborhoods in the East End.

The Pittsburgh Foundation, DSF Charitable Foundation, Highmark Foundation and the Poise Foundation together provided an additional $900,000.

Launched in October 2004, the HBFP team has been conducting door-to-door recruitment of African-American families to join in a multi-year effort to improve diet, increase physical activity and reduce stress. This approach translates the best of public health and medical science into changes people can make to take control of their health by reducing risk factors for chronic disease.

According to Linda Siminerio, director of the UPMC Diabetes Institute and HBFP clinical partner, more than 18 million Americans live with diabetes and another 41 million with a condition called pre-diabetes. With African Americans being twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to whites and the leading cause of death among people who have diabetes being heart disease or stroke, she noted that diabetes is an epidemic in minority populations. Diabetes death rates for African Americans are about two times the rate for whites.

CMH has assembled a team of community-based organizations along with medical experts from the UPMC Diabetes Institute and computer technology specialists from Carnegie Mellon University. All are focused on breaking the cycle of heart disease and diabetes through lifestyle behavior change, chronic disease management, improved access to medical care and preventive services, and elimination of exposure to environmental toxins in both the homes and the neighborhoods.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 38 Issue 2

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