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Grant assists OU-COM's ComCorps
youth obesity prevention program

Funding allows ComCorps to continue
addressing Athens County health issues

(ATHENS, Ohio)  ComCorps, the AmeriCorps program at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) was one of 26 organizations in the state to receive nearly $7 million in grant funding from the Ohio Community Service Council. 

The Council provides funding to groups and programs that address the Corporation for National and Community Service areas of priority which include strengthening education, fostering economic opportunity, preparing for and responding to emergencies, improving health, meeting environmental needs, and assisting veterans and military families. 

The $260,000 grant received by ComCorps will be used to plan, implement and evaluate a new obesity prevention focus for Athens County children, said Kathy Trace, director of the OU-COM Area Health Education Center and Community Health Programs.

“The ComCorps program is very important to improving the health and wellness of Athens County,” Trace said. “Prevention is the key to good health and quality of life – this program through strong partnerships allows us to focus on reducing childhood obesity and other factors which contribute to chronic disease.” 

The obesity prevention program components will include a “Food is Elementary” curriculum, gardening education and outreach, and a partnership with the Community Food Initiatives Donation Station. ComCorps also will continue to serve Athens County by providing health screenings and assisting clients with the Ohio Benefit Bank. By utilizing all of these initiatives, ComCorps will strive to reduce the body mass index of Athens County children by engaging not only students, but their families and community members as well to play an active role in promoting health with nutrition and garden education to increase access to healthy fresh food.

“It is an exciting time for the county,” said Lauren Borovicka, program coordinator. “Many collaborations and partnerships are fusing together with the goal of reducing chronic illness. We are excited to be a part of this county-wide effort.”

ComCorps’ partners for the next year will include Athens City, Nelsonville-York City, Federal Hocking and Trimble Local School Districts; OU-COM’s Community Health Programs; the Athens City-County Health Department; Athens County Children Services; Community Food Initiatives; Good Works, Inc.; Kids on Campus; and Live Healthy Appalachia.

Twenty ComCorps members will work with these organizations to accomplish this year’s programs. ComCorps is seeking new applicants to join this year’s team, Borovicka said. “What is great about having AmeriCorps members enter the initiative is they will all receive training, and after their year of service, they will take these concepts and knowledge into their different fields and carry the message into their future pursuits, which may include public health, medicine, social services or working for community non-profits.”

For information about the program or to apply to become a member of ComCorps, contact Borovicka at Borovicka@oucom.ohiou.edu, or call 593-2293.

 
 
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Last updated: 01/28/2016