CDC awards Davidson health grant
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded Davidson a $350,000 grant to study healthy community initiatives over the next three years, Planning Manager Lauren Blackburn announced in Roosevelt Wilson Park on Friday, Sept. 9.
The “Health Impact Assessment to Foster Community Design Grant,” was awarded to six organizations nationwide. Davidson: Design for Life must complete at least three health impact assessments per year for the next three years with this funding. These assessments will provide information to help the town continue to further the values of healthy life and diverse, connected neighborhoods in Davidson, Blackburn said.
Health Impact Assessments consist of screenings to identify areas in which information could be useful, scoping to select health effects to consider, risk-benefit assessments, developing recommendations, reporting results to decision-makers and evaluating the new information’s effect on policy decisions, according to the Center for Disease Control’s website.
“The citizens have expressed their desire for connected, walk-able neighborhoods,” commissioner Margo Williams said. “Lucky for us, the CDC listened.”
The national-health agency chose Davidson as a grant recipient because of its leadership in smart growth and affordable housing, commitment to health, sustainability and the outdoor activities, according to the press release.
The town hopes this recognition adds credence to local efforts to establish its healthy infrastructure, and leads to further grant opportunities and partnerships, according to the press release.
Davidson has already been awarded three state planning awards in the last year. The town was given the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Fit Community designation and was the subject of “Small Town Fit,” the book a group of University of North Carolina at Charlotte students published after studying Davidson.
Davidson is the smallest municipality to win this grant. The other recipients are the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Oregon Department of Public Human Services, the Douglas County (Nebraska) Health Department and the Baltimore City Health Department, according to the press release.
“Our citizens will offer a unique perspective on what it is to live a healthy, connected life,” Williams said.
Davidson will receive $116,368 in the first year with the possibility of continued funding of the same amount for the following 2 years, according to the press release. This funding will pay for the salary and benefits of a new full-time coordinator, part of the planning manager’s salary and any operational costs of the assessments. Town staff will provide some support, but that will be the town’s only expense. Davidson will share the grant’s benefits with surrounding towns by offering HIA training to interested people and organizations.
Town officials say details are coming on progress and how citizens can participate and provide input.
Citizens can follow the project under the DD4L tab of Davidson’s website – www.ci.davidson.nc.us – by signing up for eCrier emails or by emailing DD4L@townofdavidson.org.