NCHD Receives Funding to Improve Health and Prevent Chronic Disease in Washington County


The North Central Health District (NCHD) recently received $1.02 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the inaugural year of a five-year Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) cooperative agreement.

REACH funding will allow the NCHD to start a Supporting Health Initiatives & Nurturing Equity (SHINE) Program with the goal of improving health, preventing chronic diseases, and reducing health disparities among the African American population in Baldwin, Hancock, and Washington counties.

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke are among the most common causes of illness, disability, and death in the United States. They are also leading drivers of the nation’s $4.1 trillion in annual health care costs. These chronic conditions – and the factors that lead to them – are more common or severe for some racial and ethnic groups.

During the current funding period, the CDC’s REACH funding has been awarded to only 41 communities across 27 states. Funding is designed to help organizations plan and carry out local, culturally appropriate programs to address various health issues among racial and ethnic minority groups.

The NCHD is set to implement the following public health strategies:

  • Creating more accessible healthy food choices by promoting food service and nutrition guidelines and  expanding fruit and vegetable voucher incentives and produce prescription programs.
  • Finding safe and accessible pedestrian, bicycle, and transit transportation networks to everyday destinations.
  • Improving education of early care through nutrition, physical activity, and breastfeeding.