Kent County Health Connect is supported by the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant, a national program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health. Kent County is one of 32 REACH Comprehensive Implementation Awardees.
Kent County's REACH initiative builds upon a foundation of community partnerships that were established during three years of Community Transformation Grant (CTG) funding from the CDC. As part of this work, Kent County Health Connect (KCHC), a coalition of local stake holders focused on promoting healthy living in Kent County was formed. In 2014, KCHC implemented pilot projects that focused on increasing access to healthy foods and tobacco free environments in the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood. Building relationships with neighborhood stake holders (e.g. Roosevelt Park Ministries, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks) was key to engaging community members in these efforts to ensure the success of the initiative.
While the activities of the REACH initiate will continue in the Roosevelt Park/Black Hills Neighborhood area during 2015, activities will expand to other Grand Rapids neighborhoods in 2016 and 2017. REACH activities are rooted in a "Community -Based Participatory Approach," and the success of the initiative in these areas will rely on establishing relationships with new partners who have ties to those living in the targeted neighborhoods. Over the next two and a half years, the REACH initiative aims to improve healthy living opportunities for those living in Grand Rapids Hope Zones by increasing access to tobacco free environments, access to healthy foods, and opportunities for physical activity and chronic disease prevention, risk reduction and management.
Above: Map of the four "Hope Zones" in the City of Grand Rapids