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Rising to the Humana Challenge!

Rising to the Humana ChallengeThe Directors of the Desert Healthcare District and Desert Healthcare Foundation approved two grant awards for a total of $1,279,851 to HealthCorps, Inc. and Clinton’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation to support health education efforts to reduce childhood obesity and help our local children live longer and healthier lives.

Following the Humana Challenge and Clinton conference in January, community partners, led by Desert Regional Medical Center who sponsored the conference, made a decision to continue the focus on health awareness and childhood obesity. They began by inviting key partners to meet with representatives of Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The Healthy Schools Program, a key initiative of the Alliance, assists schools in creating healthier environments that promote nutritionally-sound eating and physical activity. The Desert Healthcare Foundation recognized a unique opportunity to include every school within the three (3) Coachella Valley public school districts (Palm Springs Unified, Desert Sands Unified, and Coachella Valley Unified). The program requires that schools follow very specific criteria for developing a healthier school environment and within the Healthy Schools Program Best Practices Framework, levels of achievement–bronze, gold, and platinum–can be achieved.

The Alliance was awarded a four-year grant from the Desert Healthcare Foundation to support a Relationship Manager position, associated program support, and an evaluation component. Funds raised at Mayor Pougnet’s recent Palm Springs “Healthy Planet, Healthy You Race and Wellness Festival” and matched by the Desert Healthcare Foundation will support the Healthy Schools Program specific to the 26 schools in Palm Springs.

Approximately 71,000 students will be impacted, and school district policy change is anticipated by the end of the four-year period.

HealthCorps is a national health educational/peer mentoring program founded by heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz. Its premise is to empower American students and their families to become health agents of change for their communities. HealthCorps Coordinators are recent college graduates who defer entry into medical school or graduate health programs to participate in public service through a two-year full time assignment at a designated public high school where they conduct approximately ten classes a week and lead after school and community programs. Funded by the Desert Healthcare District, the two-year grant supports the placement of three HealthCorps Coordinators at Palm Springs High School, Cathedral City High School, and Desert Hot Springs High School.

The HealthCorps Coordinators, in partnership with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, will complete the Alliance’s assessment to address gaps in each of the high school’s policies and programming; create a Wellness Council (a committee of school staff, students, family and community members); and strive to gain Bronze Status in at least one category within the Alliance’s Best Practices Framework.

Desert Healthcare District is a government agency, established by the state of California in 1948, to improve and support community health programs within a 457-square mile service area in the Coachella Valley. The District also owns and oversees the lease of Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. 

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