Gov. Jim Justice and Director Jill Upson of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) awarded $25,000 to the Marshall University Minority Health Institute to aid in their efforts to improve community health and economic development in Kanawha County, West Virginia. The pilot program, called Building Resources In Diverse Geographic Environments (BRIDGE), is a comprehensive community revitalization effort with a mission of addressing poverty, improving community-wide health, stimulating labor force participation and supporting economic development. The program also aims to combat substance abuse and improve crime rates, as well as neighborhood revitalization.
The Minority Health Institute was one out of 10 organizations that were chosen to receive this award. LaDawna Walker Dean, West Virginia minority health coordinator at Marshall, said the Minority Health Institute is grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact in the region.
"Embarking on this pilot project will give Kanawha County and the state of West Virginia continued foundations to inform and educate minorities on the importance of taking care of their health to reduce the prevalence and incidence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity."
Dr. Anthony T. Woart, chair of the university’s department of public health, said the Minority Health Institute leadership team is excited that their proposal was selected to participate in the West Virginia BRIDGE pilot program.
"Our focus on health disparities will hopefully draw attention to, and ultimately contribute to, reducing the burden of diabetes health disparities among the minority population of Kanawha County, target population of the proposed project. We are indeed grateful to the West Virginia Office of Minority Affairs and the Governor of West Virginia for giving us the opportunity to participate in this very import state initiative."
Other recipients included the YWCA Sojourner’s Shelter, Bridge Valley Community & Technical College Foundation, A More Excellent Way of Life Center Church, the Domestic Violence Survivors Support Group, Spotted Owl Healthcare Organization, the Morris Enrichment Center, the Fun Fitness Foundation, the Appalachia Service Project and the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.
Photo: Gov. Jim Justice (seated at center), and Jill Upson, director of the Office of Minority Affairs (far left), pose with representatives of Marshall University’s Minority Health Institute: LaDawna Walker Dean, minority health coordinator (second from left), and Dr. Anthony Woart, chair of the university’s department of public health (far right). The $25,000 BRIDGE grant was presented to Marshall University’s Minority Health Institute during a ceremony at the State Capitol Monday, Feb. 10.