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Major grant won by Morrison-Todd-Wadena Community Health Board

Wadena County Public Health Director Cindy Pederson announced the receipt of a $1,000,000 grant on April 26, to the Morrison-Todd-Wadena Community Health Board, including Cass County Public Health.

The grant, called a Community Transformation Grant (CTG), was made by the Minnesota Department of Health to five grantees in the state. The grants are being given to the grantees in the areas of the state with the highest rural concentration of poverty, chronic disease, obesity and tobacco use. The grant will fund health promotion activities for the next four years.

Wadena, Cass, Morrison and Todd Counties were placed in the Minnesota list of 10 counties in poorest health by a Blue Cross Blue Shield study published in 2011. Pederson and her colleagues in the other three counties prepared the grant application after learning of its availability to former SHIP (State Health Improvement Program) grantees.

The CTG grant will emphasize prevention of disease. Like the recently-completed multi-year SHIP grant, it will encourage reduction of tobacco use, increased physical activities, access to healthy food and coordinated health care and prevention.

Pederson said the grant is expected to provide about $250,000 per year for these activities, to be divided among the four counties included in the local award.

Minnesota received this grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address health disparities, create a healthier future and help control health care spending.

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans are overweight or obese, and about 16 percent of adults smoke. Insufficient physical activity, poor nutrition and commercial tobacco use are the top causes of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. The CTG will help reduce risk factors for these chronic diseases in the counties receiving the funds, and improve worker productivity by reducing chronic disease disability.