County receives $3.5 million grant to promote healthier communities
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Sonoma County received $3.5 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Transformation Grants (CTG) today.

The funding is the result of an early series of critical investments related to federal health care reform. The grant was awarded to Sonoma County through a highly competitive application process and the County received one of only 40 awards provided nationally.

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane commented, “This is a groundbreaking example of local communities benefitting from federal health care reform. Our innovation and partnership here in Sonoma County set us apart and the federal government clearly recognizes our efforts as worthy of its investment.  These funds will improve the health of everyone in our community as we build a focused prevention effort.”

The County will leverage a wide network of community partners to turn its proposal into action, investing over half of the grant funds into local service providers and community organizations, with the remaining funds used to bolster County programs. Specific projects include:

• Increasing the number of Baby Friendly hospitals;

• More school staff training to integrate physical activity into the school day;    

• Expanding the Safe Routes to School program;

• Supporting the local food system by bringing fresh farm produce to schools and providing financial incentives for low-income individuals and families to purchase fresh farm produce;         

• Developing nutritional standards for County food;

• Launching a media campaign aimed to reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and tobacco use;

• Conducting training for youth in suicide prevention;

• Conducting training in healthy community design for planners, policy makers, and architects.

The projects funded by the CTG grant will reach the county’s entire population. Targeted interventions will focus on low-income, Hispanic/Latino, and youth populations with special attention to underserved rural areas of Sonoma County, pregnant women and newborns.

“Health care reform is saving money, saving lives and improving the health and wellbeing of our communities,” said Rep. Mike Thompson. “These funds will help make Sonoma County healthier, and when the folks in our workforce and their children are healthy, productivity is up and costs are down.”

Overall, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded approximately $70 million in prevention 40 grants nationwide, all focused on improving the health of small communities. The CTG Program is a comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative launched in 2011 and funded through the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. These new funds will support areas with fewer than 500,000 people in neighborhoods, school districts, villages, towns, cities, and counties.

For more information on the County’s effort to be the healthiest County in California by 2020, please visit www.sonomahealthaction.org.

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