Minneapolis receives $3M federal health grant

The grant money will disperse over the next four years to combat diseases.

by Nick Wicker

Minneapolis will use a nearly $3 million grant to combat the spread of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke in the city.

A City Council committee on Monday accepted the Minnesota Department of Health’s Healthy Living Grant, which will be awarded to local clinics. The full council will vote on it later this month.

The grant money will be dispersed over the next four years. The state obtained the money from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Patty Bowler, director of policy and community programs for the Minneapolis Health Department.

Minnesota was one of 17 states chosen to receive the CDC’s grant because it has a healthy population and could lead other states by example, said Mary Manning, director of the state health department’s health promotion and chronic disease division.

Minnesota will receive a total of $8.4 million, and $2.89 million will go to Minneapolis.

Jennifer Hall, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, said the grant indicates the city is making obesity a priority, as it is a risk factor that can lead to other diseases.

Bowler said the grant will fund a 16-week class for residents at highest risk for Type 2 diabetes and give money to local pharmacists and clinics to focus on preventing obesity and related diseases.

She said the state was interested in awarding the grant to Minneapolis because its diversity allows the state to test possible solutions to race- and income-related health disparities.

Manning said minorities and low-income groups tend to have considerably more cases of diabetes and obesity-related illnesses.

Hall said the heightened rate of obesity in minority communities has become a trend nationwide.

Bowler said she hopes to use these appropriations as an opportunity to further the cause of health equality and get preventative care to the city’s poorer neighborhoods.

Local groups and clinics will compete for funding by applying to the city through the Minneapolis Department of Health, she said.

Bowler said her department will hire a new employee with the grant money to handle the expected influx of funding requests.

If Minneapolis’ City Council accepts the grant, money will be dispersed in the spring.

Ward 2 City Councilman Cam Gordon said he’s confident the grant will receive the full council’s approval in the coming weeks.