UH to launch health program for Third Ward

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The University of Houston’s HEALTH Research Institute will get a $2 million grant to help prevent and treat obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the city’s Third Ward, a place that can often slip through the health care cracks.

The program, being announced Wednesday and scheduled to launch later this spring, is expected to reach 5,000 residents in the next three years, program organizers said. It is being funded by a grant from United Health Foundation, the nonprofit charitable arm of UnitedHealth Group, the insurance giant’s parent company.

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The University of Houston Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP) has received a $281,475 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to start the Houston-area Opportunities for Undergraduate Student Training in Obesity & Nutrition (HOUSTON) Academy. Over the next four years, The HOUSTON Academy will provide 40 fellowships to primarily minority, economically disadvantaged undergraduate students to address health issues related to obesity and nutrition in communities near UH, including Third Ward and the Greater East End.

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Here locally, the University of Houston is trying to make a difference.

“We recently got funding from the United Health Foundation that was a $2 million grant that allows us to go into the Third Ward and East End, so primarily focusing on African American and Hispanic populations, to look at how we can prevent and treat diabetes,” Dr. Obasi said.

University of Houston’s Health Research Institute aims to reach 5,000 Third Ward residents in their own community through outreach like free health fair’s that offer screenings for diabetes.

But it’s not cost alone keeping people from being treated.

“I think knowledge about the risk associated with diabetes is a factor, Dr. Obasi explained. “Many people don’t know that if you go without diabetes untreated that you could actually get amputations, that you could suffer a heart attack, that you could go blind, and so folks don’t take it seriously because they have relatives that have and say ‘so and so has diabetes, and they’re fine,’ and we don’t always know the downstream effects,.”

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Midway through a three-year, $2 million grant from the United Health Foundation, University of Houston’s Project TOUCH (Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities) is changing people’s lives.


What an inspiring success story. Thanks for posting!