Port Towns Community Health Partnership Distributes $200,000 Grant to Reduce High Rates of Obesity and Chronic Illness in Prince George's County, Md.

Local Nonprofits Unveil Plans to Advance Healthy Eating and Active Living  

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Port Towns Community Health Partnership (PTCHP) is using a portion of a $200,000 grant to seed projects that will increase access to healthy eating and active living, and reduce obesity and chronic illness in the Port Towns – Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City and Edmonston – in Prince George's County, Maryland.  

PTCHP's grantmaking represents phase one of a multi-year community health initiative aimed at creating sustainable improvements to conditions that affect public health and wellbeing in neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and places of worship throughout the Port Towns.  Four local organizations, Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS), Ecumenical Health Collaborative (EHC), End Time Harvest Ministries (ETHM), and Engaged Community Offshoots (ECO City Farms), will use funds to implement various programs that will influence the Port Towns community's ability to make healthy lifestyle decisions and ultimately improve individual health.  

"We are working hard to promote more access to nutritional meals and physical activity in Port Towns schools, residences, churches, businesses, and work places," said Reverend Gail A. Addison, president, End Time Harvest Ministries, Inc.  "Kaiser Permanente's education process at the community level is empowering and promoting individual and systems level change."

After developing a comprehensive Community Action Plan, the PTCHP invited non-profit organizations that serve the Port Towns communities to submit proposals focused on access to healthy foods, healthy land-use and recreation, along with youth training and development, and youth leadership training and development.  Funds were disbursed accordingly:

  • $25,000 to ECO City Farms of Edmonston, Md., will initiate the first phase of planning and construction to open an urban farm in Bladensburg, Md.  The new farm will operate on 3.5 acres of land at Autumn Woods, a low-income housing complex, making it the second urban farm in the Port Towns.  
  • $25,000 to AWS of Bladensburg, Md., to increase access to recreational activities and encourage active living and stewardship of natural resources along the Anacostia River at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park.  AWS will provide boat access, paddling and canoe safety instruction, programs for biking and walking, and education on native flora and fauna along the Anacostia River Watershed.
  • $25,000 to ETHM of Riverdale, Md., to support the Youth Wellness Leadership Institute (YWLI) which trains Port Towns youth to be wellness ambassadors and lead nutrition and physical activity programs among peer groups and adults within the community.  YWLI seeks to cultivate participants into leaders and advocates for policy change to create and sustain good health in the Port Towns.
  • $14,699 to EHC of Bladensburg, Md., to support a six-month obesity prevention campaign and program, targeting frequent churchgoers in the Port Towns, that will encourage weight loss, blood pressure monitoring, and endurance training.  A Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine report found that young adults who frequently attend religious activities are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age than those with no religious participation.  The report inspired EHC to educate churchgoers about the realities of unhealthy eating in faith-based environments.  

"Kaiser Permanente convened several funders and public agencies to support the Health Partnership's work because our goal of measurably reducing rates of obesity and chronic illness requires the commitment of multiple stakeholders," said Celeste James, director, Community Health Initiatives, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.  "We're very pleased to be part of this collaborative effort to build healthier, thriving communities in the county."  

PTCHP was formed in 2008 with funding support from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, Consumer Health Foundation, the Meyer Foundation, and United Way of the National Capital Area, and aims to promote health in Prince George's County, Md. by delivering an effective model for systems change at the community and county levels.  PTCHP activities target a combination of public policy, organizational practice, built-environment (including zoning and land-use), and individual behavior changes.

PTCHP is part of a national effort by Kaiser Permanente to support health improvement in communities by encouraging partnerships and providing financial, technical, and evaluation assistance.  

About the Port Towns Community Health Partnership
The Port Towns Community Health Partnership (PTCHP) is a collaboration of community residents, organizations and funders, working together to support healthy living in the Port Towns – Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City and Edmonston – of Prince George's County, Maryland.  PTCHP partners include Port Towns youth and adult residents, schools, businesses, local government leaders, and nonprofit organizations.  The PTCHP aims to change community conditions that increase the risk of obesity, chronic disease and health inequities in the Port Towns by encouraging sustainable practices, policies and neighborhood conditions that enable a healthy and active environment.  For more information, visit http://porttowns-chp.org/.

About the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS)
The Anacostia Watershed Society is dedicated to cleaning the waters, recovering the shoreline, and honoring the heritage of the Anacostia River and its tributary creeks and streams in Washington, D.C., and Maryland.  Learn more at http://www.anacostiaws.org/.

About Engaged Community Offshoots, Inc. (ECO City Farms)
ECO City Farms is an educational, not-for-profit enterprise in Prince George's County, MD designed to serve as a prototype for sustainable local farming.  ECO seeks to enhance food security, safety and access; improve nutrition and health; preserve cultural and ecological diversity; and accelerate a transition to an economy based on preservation, recycling and restoration. To learn more, visit http://www.ecoffshoots.org/.

About End Time Harvest Ministries, Inc. (ETHM)
ETHM promotes youth involvement in the Port Towns (Bladensburg, Colmar Manor, Cottage City and Edmonston) and other Prince George's County (Maryland) communities by equipping young leaders with educational, social, and economic life skills to positively influence and actively advance the health, wellness and wealth of our communities.  

About Ecumenical Health Collaborative (EHC)
EHC is a faith-based health collaborative facilitated by Word of God Church in Bladensburg, Maryland. With increasing rates of obesity linked to sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating, often in churches, the EHC seeks to reverse this trend by conducting workshops and using worship services to drive individual behavior change.

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States



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