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Bernalillo County Receives Community Transformation Grant

The Bernalillo County Office of Environmental Health has been awarded $497,353 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Year One of a two-year project focused on building capacity to address chronic disease prevention through "Collective Impact for Neighborhood and County Health" (CINCH). The Bernalillo County Community Health Council will serve as the required community coalition for this grant.

Over the two-year period, CINCH will develop a Community Transformation Implementation Plan that will support policies, environmental change, access to programs, and infrastructure that are designed to prevent chronic disease in the county, with particular attention to reducing disparities among populations and neighborhoods that experience higher chronic disease rates. With a third of the population of the state, Bernalillo County rates fairly well in comparison to other counties in the state with regard to overall chronic disease burden. However, upon closer examination there are at least three zip codes within the county with much higher rates of chronic disease mortality, all of which are more heavily populated with Hispanics and have higher rates of poverty. The Native American population in Bernalillo County, both on and off-reservation, also suffers disproportionately from poverty and a resulting greater burden of chronic disease.

The first year of the capacity-building phase will consist of:

1) a detailed health assessment to update, consolidate and analyze chronic disease data for the county and for sub-populations within the county, with special attention to low-income populations, especially Hispanics and Native Americans;

2) a policy/environmental scan to examine existing and needed policies, environments, programs and infrastructure that impact on chronic disease;

3) a Training Academy to build necessary capacity and skills both in the CINCH staff and in community partner organizations in the areas of health equity, social determinants of health, health impact assessments, community engagement, and results-based accountability; and

4) laying the foundation for a planning process that relies heavily on community involvement to develop a Community Transformation Implementation Plan outlining the required strategic directions to address policy, environmental, programmatic, and infrastructure approaches in the areas of tobacco-free living, healthy eating/active living, and high-impact evidenced-based clinical and other preventive services, as well as potential strategies directed toward social and emotional wellness, and healthy and safe physical environments.

The CINCH initiative will benefit from a strong multi-sectoral Leadership Team consisting of policy-makers and leaders in the community, and the Bernalillo County Community Health Council will serve as the required community coalition.

This Community Transformation Grant funding for the CINCH capacity-building initiative will provide a solid foundation for examination and analysis of potential strategic directions to determine the most effective and synergistic approach to meeting the overall goals of preventing and reducing chronic disease burden in Bernalillo County while moving to eliminate disparities.

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