Health Department Awards 14 Community-based Prevention Grants

Celebrate National Public Health Week April 2 - 8, 2012

For Immediate Release: April 5, 2012

Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health

ST. ALBANS – Amy Brewer and Beth Crane don't work for the same organization, but they are so experienced in working together on Franklin County health issues that they can almost finish each other’s sentences.

The Vermont Department of Health announced today that it is awarding a total of $1.5 million in federal/state community-based prevention grants. With this funding, communities will work to prevent chronic disease – by reducing alcohol and drug abuse, promoting physical activity and nutrition, limiting retail tobacco advertising and, through the Healthy Retailers project, helping groceries and convenience stores position their merchandise to make choosing healthy food and beverages easier for their customers.

Franklin County Caring Communities ($130,000) is one of the 14 coalitions to be funded, based on its proposal, experience and community need. In the 2012 County Health Rankings, Franklin ranked 12th healthiest of the 14 counties for socioeconomic factors, health factors and health outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are the major funding sources.

“Everyone in the community is vested in working together to address these issues and we are all in it for the long haul,” said Beth Crane, executive director of Franklin County Caring Communities. “I think some of the problems people hear about with the smoking rates, lack of physical activity and drug problems in Franklin County are overstated, and it’s because we have called attention to the issues up here and addressed them. We have seen some amazing changes, even in the remote areas of the county.”

As a health educator at Northwest Medical Center, Brewer was eager to partner and combine efforts with Crane. Their collaboration is one of many coordinated partnerships developed throughout the 637 square mile region. The reach of the coalition extends to Grand Isle, where the Grand Isle County Clean Team is working to correct misperceptions about alcohol and drug abuse.

“Everybody is positive and enthusiastic and motivated to offer services to kids and parents,” said Grand Isle County Sheriff Ray Allen.

Including Grand Isle County in prevention efforts was a natural fit for Franklin County prevention coordinators. “We’ve always worked with Grand Isle,” Brewer said. “The services we share are the same – the grocery stores, service providers, so if you chose not to focus there, we would see spillover from one community to the other.”

Community-based Prevention Grant Recipients FY13

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