December 26, 2002

Christmas Comes Early For Scotland County Health Department

Christmas came early for some area nonprofits working together to prevent chronic disease and improve health care services in Missouri. The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) approved seven additional grants in December, at a time when the foundation was originally not planning to issue more grants. Of the more than 500 proposals received this year, the Scotland County Health Department was fortunate to be included in one of seven awarded in December.

Lori Moots, RN, BSN, Health Educator with the Scotland, Knox, Shelby and Clark County Health Departments wrote the grant, which the foundation describes as "innovative". She prepared the paperwork in collaboration with Dr. Dan Remley, the former Scotland County University Outreach and Extension Specialist. The grant, which totaled $221,696 for the four counties, will be distributed over three years.

Moots said the heart health project will include the four counties and will involve persons at work sites, churches, schools, clubs and other organizations. The health departments will provide health screenings for cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the initial phases of the three-year project. Following health assessments the departments will provide prevention program opportunities for participants that deal with physical activity, nutrition and tobacco use prevention and cessation. The department hopes to show positive change when evaluation is completed at the end of the project in 2006.

This public health/prevention program is based on the stages of change theory and is intended to reduce the onset of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as to assist in coping with these chronic diseases. Moots stated that the primary goals of the program are to increase participant readiness and willingness to participate in regular physical activity, eat five fruits and vegetables a day, and not to use tobacco products. Moots anticipates that the project will get underway in July 2003.

The Missouri Foundation for Health was established in January of 2000 and is the largest health care foundation in the state. It's mission is to improve the health of the people in the counties it serves. Grant-making began in August and now exceeds more than $8 million for 2002. Next year the foundation plans to give $34 million to health related efforts.

The MFH region encompasses 84 counties and the city of St. Louis. For more information regarding the MFH and its grant-making priorities, contact the foundation office at (314) 655-2708 or visit the web site at www.mffh.org.

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