CTG Grants and New IOM Report: Avenues to Help Safe Routes to School

Deb HubsmithThe Safe Routes to School movement and interest in improving the built environment continue to grow. Here are two resources that I’m sure the field will be excited about:

$70M in CTG Grants: On May 29, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced available funding of $70 million to improve the health of small communities with a population of 500,000 or less across the nation. Grants which are part of the Community Transformation Grant program (CTG) will be awarded to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations across a variety of sectors to control the nation’s growing health care costs associated with preventable chronic diseases. One of the grant priorities is about healthy and safe physical environments, so Safe Routes to School could be a good fit! 

The official funding opportunity announcement for the Community Transformation Grant program Small Communities component can be found at www.Grants.gov by searching for NCCDPHP CDC-RFA-DP12-1216PPHF12: “PPHF 2012: Community Transformation Grants - Small Communities Programs financed solely by 2012 Prevention and Public Health Funds. The letter of intent deadline is June 18, 2012 and the application deadline is July 31, 2012, 5pm eastern. To learn more about the Community Transformation Grant program, including a list of the current 68 awardees, please visit www.cdc.gov/communitytransformation.

Institute of Medicine Report:  On May 8, the Institute of Medicine released a consensus report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. The report states: “Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese. Left unchecked, obesity’s effects on health, health care costs, and our productivity as a nation could become catastrophic. The staggering human toll of obesity-related chronic disease and disability, and an annual cost of $190.2 billion for treating obesity-related illness, underscore the urgent need to strengthen prevention efforts in the United States.”

The IOM evaluated prior obesity prevention strategies and identified recommendations to meet the following goals and accelerate progress:

1)       Integrate physical activity every day in every way

2)       Market what matters for a healthy life

3)       Make healthy foods and beverages available everywhere

4)       Activate employers and health care professionals

5)       Strengthen schools as the heart of health

Safe Routes to School is well positioned within strategies #1 and #5. 

The scientific evidence continues to support that Safe Routes to School is critical for increasing physical activity and improving traffic safety. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership hopes that these new resources will help the field continue to make improvement to the built environment to create walkable and bikeable communities.