Preventing chronic disease – Duke to administer program

By Ann Claycombe

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Preventing chronic disease is the focus of a $10 million, five-year initiative being launched by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

The initiative, known as Project SELF Improvement, will target low-income groups for education about the importance of exercise, improved nutrition and smoking prevention and control. 

Duke University’s Department of Community and Family Medicine will administer and evaluate the program.

Duke will help groups prepare their proposals and programs plans before the applications are due.

“We are very eager to work with prospective grantees from across the state — phone, visits, e-mail, whatever,” says Susan Epstein, chief of Duke’s division of community and family health.

The foundation will hold workshops for prospective applicants on June 23 in Greenville and on June 26 in Asheville.

The trust created the initiative based on the advice of a group of doctors, academics and government administrators it convened to talk about remedies needed to curb chronic disease.

“I think they were expecting some standard responses about getting effective therapies into the community, and were a bit surprised at the advice that the greatest opportunity, and the greatest need, was in community-based strategies for prevention,” says J. Lloyd Michener, chairman of community and family medicine at Duke and a member of the advisory group.

October 16 is the deadline for groups to submit letters saying they intend to submit applications.

A statewide advisory panel will review the letters and select groups to submit proposals, which must be submitted by Feb. 1, 2000.

Programs selected for funding will be announced the following July.

The $600 million-asset Reynolds Trust funds programs for poor and needy people in Forsyth County, and supports programs to improve the health of underserved populations throughout North Carolina.

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