In November of 2018, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia and Healthy Savannah, were awarded a five year, $3.4 million collaborative grant to undertake a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health grant 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. hyper tension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity), through culturally tailored interventions to address preventable risk behaviors, (i.e. poor nutrition, smoking and physical inactivity).

The primary approach of the Y and Healthy Savannah’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health project is to reduce health disparities among African American and Hispanic/Latino Americans in low income neighborhoods in seven zip codes in Chatham County by improving access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity, and creating 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 project will center around Nutrition, Physical Activity and Community-Clinical Linkages. Some of the major undertakings outlined in the project include; expansion of Farm Truck 912’s work to increase food access, support and advocacy for Savannah to be named a Breastfeeding Friendy Community, support for The Corner Store Initiative to increase healthy food options in neighborhood retail stores, work with Chatham Area Transit to continue to improve mobility in the priority areas, advocacy work for support of the City of Savannah’s New Zoning Ordinance which promotes walkability, mixed use, diverse housing and small-scale development to support neighborhood stability and character, collaboration on the work being undertaken by the Tide to Town Urban Trail Network.

To learn more about the progress or to get involved, please contact our staff:

Program Administrator: Paula Kreissler

Program Manager, Physical Activity: Armand Turner

For media inquiries and communications information please contact Nichele Hoskins