Grant to aid fight against chronic illness


By CHELSEA JENSEN

Stephens Media

A $50,000 grant is headed to the nonprofit West Hawaii Community Health Center. The grant is aimed at supporting programs that focus on the treatment and management of chronic diseases in our community.

The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust awarded the Innovations in Community Health grant as part of a nationwide effort to help increase access to quality health care and produce better health outcomes while reducing costs. The funding comes from a partnership between the trust and the National Association of Community Health Centers and will target chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

The West Hawaii Community Health Center grant will support diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia management, according to the trust.

The center’s executive director, Richard Taaffe, could not be reached for comment. Messages left with the center’s administrative office were also not returned.

The Kailua-Kona health center’s grant is just one of 21 grants totalling $1 million awarded by the charitable trust, which is a private foundation created by CVS Caremark Corp. to provide funding for health care, education and community involvement initiatives. Longs Drugs is owned by CVS.

The funding is part of a $3 million multiyear initiative to help people nationwide manage and prevent chronic diseases.

“Through our partnership with NACHC, we are providing much-needed funding to support affordable, community-based health care models that are producing innovative programming in the area of chronic disease management,” Eileen Howard Boone, CVS Caremark Charitable Trust president said in a statement. “We are honored to recognize programs in Hawaii that are using a variety of methods to help people manage their chronic disease and improve health outcomes.”

Chronic diseases are noncommunicable illnesses that are prolonged in duration, do not resolve spontaneously, and are rarely cured completely, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 133 million Americns live with at least one chronic illness, according to the CDC. Chronic illnesses are often preventable.

In conjunction with the awarding of the grants, CVS is releasing a survey it conducted regarding chronic illnesses that found numerous public misconceptions and misunderstandings.

According to the survey, 40 percent of people think what they eat has little impact on whether they get a chronic disease; 32 percent think smoking has no effect on chronic disease other than lung cancer; and 28 percent believe there is little they can do to prevent a chronic disease.

Further, the survey showed 60 percent of respondents are aware they should take steps to reduce stress but do not; 65 percent admit they know they should exercise regularly, but do not; and more than half said they did not take the steps to improve their diets.

Waimanalo Health Center on Oahu also received a $50,000 grant as part of the program to support diabetes and hypertension care coordination.

The West Hawaii Community Health Center is a nonprofit entity working to provide health care to the underserved, underinsured and uninsured. It opened in 2005 and received Federal Qualified Health Center status in 2006.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

 

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