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New $2 Million Grant Fuels Effort to Take Health Care To the Community

Posted March 30, 2017 – Faculty members from the University of Houston College of Education helped promote better health care for underserved communities on Wednesday, carrying out the college’s mission to end such inequities.

Gathered at a Third Ward community center, local residents had access to free health screenings as part of a kickoff event announcing a $2 million grant from United Health Foundation to the UH HEALTH Research Institute, led by the College of Education’s associate dean for research, Ezemenari Obasi. The grant will fuel efforts to prevent and treat obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health problems in Third Ward and East End.

“Our vision is to bring the right people and the right resources together to make change happen,” said Obasi, who leads the college’s Psychological, Health and Learning Sciences department.

The effort will include community health fairs that will allow residents who may lack health insurance or transportation to drive to a faraway doctor’s office to get free health screenings in their own neighborhood. Residents also will be connected to services or programs such as BOUNCE, the healthy lifestyle program run by College of Education Professor Norma Olvera.

Professors Obasi and O'Connor on Fox26 Houston

Visitors to the DAWN Center on Wednesday were able to get their body mass index calculated and their blood sugar and blood pressure checked. They also received tips on quitting smoking from College of Education Associate Professor Lorraine Reitzel and her team.

Obasi and Dan O’Connor, chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance at UH, teamed up Wednesday to explain the community health initiative, which kicks off in Third Ward.

“That area has a very high prevalence of obesity, and that leads to diabetes and cardiovascular disease and other things,” O’Connor said Wednesday during a television interview on Fox 26 Houston. “And they also have a lack of resources, so it’s a bad situation.”

Read more about the health initiative.

– Ericka Mellon