In November of 2018, Healthy Savannah, in partnership with the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, was awarded a five year, $3.4 million collaborative grant to undertake a REACH project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) was started by the CDC in 1999 to help reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic populations with the highest burden of chronic disease, (i.e. hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity), through culturally tailored interventions to address preventable risk behaviors, (i.e. poor nutrition and physical inactivity).
The primary goal of Project HOPE (Healthy Opportunities Empowering Equity) is to reduce health disparities among African American and Hispanic/Latino Americans in low-income Chatham County neighborhoods. The work will improve access to healthy food, opportunities for physical activity, and create more effective community linkages between people in need and the clinical service providers and community organizations that can help.
The YMCA and Healthy Savannah have established a strong, collaborative infrastructure and have a successful history of working together to improve public health. The coalition is comprised of over 28 local members who are serving the African American and Hispanic American communities in Savannah and Chatham County.
The strategies and activities involved in the Savannah/Chatham County REACH project will center around Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Community-Clinical Linkages. Upon entering its fourth year in October of 2021, there are already many notable successes and accomplishments.
- Farm Truck 912, the mobile version of the popular Forsyth Farmers’ Market, has added four new stops and operates six days a week, even during COVID, on a schedule that takes it throughout Chatham County and across all economic strata.
- Farm Truck 912’s Food Farmacy initiative, launched in May 2020, had its largest-ever one-day sales on May 28, 2020. The program coordinates with health providers to serve low-wealth participants diagnosed at risk for chronic diet-related diseases.
- The Healthy Corner Store Initiative continues to serve the community healthier food choices during the pandemic and has grown from two to three locations in the past several months, with one set to reopen after the pandemic.
- Tide to Town, a project to provide 30-plus miles of protected walking and bicycling trails, will connect all of Savannah from the heart of the city to its waterways and marshes, including 62 Savannah neighborhoods, 30 public schools, and all three major hospitals.
- The HERO (Health Effective Resource Organizations) Database, which launched in January 2020, was compiled to help empower Savannah-Chatham county residents to be their own health advocates. This directory of online health and social services resources lists 883 agency contacts across 57 categories from childcare to substance abuse, food access, clinics and more.
To learn more contact our REACH Staff:
Project Director: Paula Kreissler
Nutrition Program Manager: Ruby Hallam
Physical Activity Program Manager: Armand Turner Community Clinical Linkages Manager: Larson Ashford
For media inquiries and communications information please contact Ashley Rainge.