Healthy Augusta Committee gets grant

Augusta leaders concerned about the community's health are getting a boost from a national initiative.

The Healthy Augusta Committee will receive a $12,000 grant from the Action Communities for Health Innovation and Environmental Change through the Family Y of Greater Augusta, said Y spokeswoman Millie Schumacher.

The Y is one of the partners in the committee, which also includes Georgia Health Sciences University, the Richmond County Board of Education, Mayor Deke Copenhaver's office, and Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, said Janet Thornburg, the community health director for the Y.

"It's a relatively new group of professionals that have come together to do just that, make a difference in the community," she said. "We feel like we're reaching the people that can make a difference in the community."

Augusta was among 40 communities getting grants through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Health Communities Program in the latest round, according to a news release from the funding group. The money will help leaders foster better health in Augusta, Thornburg said.

"The funding will help this group go and learn how other communities have been successful," she said. "It's exciting. We're just now working together on how we can make this happen."

The Y is already involved in programs aimed at improving community health, such as the Team Lean weight loss program and the associated Let's Play 60 for children, which involve more than 1,700 people this year, Thornburg said. The Y also has the Prime Time program in 34 schools, involving 1,000 children and 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

Still, there is more that can be done to make the community healthier, she said.

"I am sure there are programs out there that we're excited to hear more about that we can implement in Augusta," she said.


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