Diana Parra Perez, a researcher at the Brown School’s Prevention Research Center, has been awarded a grant to develop programs to address high-risk populations for COVID-19 in St. Louis. The Center in St. Louis will work with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in the Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC) program to boost existing efforts of partners and communities with a focus on health equity in nutrition security, access to safe physical activity and social connectedness.
“African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, aging adults, and people with disabilities have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19 across the United States,” Perez said. “With this funding, we will develop and support partnerships with key community organizations to address some of the underlying risk factors as well as some of the consequences from the pandemic. Health equity and sustainable change will be at the center of our work.”
The Center will provide one-on-one technical assistance to local partners, like health departments. PRC will also help set up monthly training programs, virtual learning webinars and share additional resources from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), which provides the BRIC grants. Other partners may include Area Agencies on Aging, planning and public works agencies, local economic developers, and local nongovernmental organizations that support the social and emotional needs of older adults, particularly those living in long-term care facilities.
The team will also help develop activities in up to five communities to improve nutrition security, access to safe physical activity, transportation alternatives and social connectedness.
NACDD is providing funding for the BRIC program to 20 states to promote healthy living and reduce social isolation during the COVID pandemic. The initiative is part of a collaboration with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a team of nationally recognized experts. NACDD supports state health departments and other organizations as they work with local communities on improving safe access to physical activity, promoting healthy eating through improved nutrition security, and reducing isolation and loneliness. All of these actions focus on improving people’s lives during the pandemic and on reducing health equities and promoting social justice for people who are impacted the most.