October 26, 2009

NICHQ Announces Eight Awards to Organizations Fighting Childhood Obesity

Grants Totaling $120,000 To Aid Seven States in Advocacy Training and Implementation Support for Healthcare Providers

Boston, MA — The National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) today announced that eight organizations have received awards of $15,000 each as part of the Mobilizing Healthcare Professionals as Community Leaders in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity program. The program is part of a $3.25 million grant awarded to NICHQ from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The goal of Mobilizing Healthcare Professionals as Community Leaders in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity, developed by NICHQ, in cooperation with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the California Medical Association Foundation (CMA-Foundation), and the Robert Wood Johnson Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity (CPCO), is to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic trend across the nation by training, supporting and providing technical assistance to healthcare professionals in becoming advocates for change within their communities.

The eight grants were awarded to organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas.

“The awards will allow the recipients to conduct obesity-prevention advocacy training and provide implementation support to local healthcare providers,” said Rachelle Mirkin, executive program director at NICHQ.

“Healthcare professionals have an important voice in raising awareness and in helping communities and families find the tools they need to reverse obesity,” said Joseph W. Thompson, MD, MPH, Director, CPCO. “I am especially pleased to see these grants awarded to organizations in many of the states with the highest rates of obesity.”

“As a leader in fighting childhood obesity, we are thrilled to support other organizations that are making strides in erasing this epidemic,” said Dr. Charles Homer, president and chief executive officer of NICHQ. “We look forward to working with the AAP, CMA-Foundation, RWJF and the awardees of this program to bring awareness to this critical issue facing children’s health.”

Awards were based on written applications and phone interviews. Successful applicants had detailed project plans, highly collaborative project teams and a history of working on sustainable advocacy and public health initiatives. In addition to the grant, NICHQ and its partners will provide the recipients with tools, training and technical assistance. The award period is from October 2009-May 2011.

As part of the $3.25 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NICHQ will also be launching a website designed as the “go to” resource for advocacy training and technical assistance for health care providers. The site will launch in January 2010.

NICHQ has long been a leader in the fight against childhood obesity. Since 2003, NICHQ staff and faculty worked directly with practices and programs to facilitate the engagement of clinicians in community change and improve clinical practice in Maine, New Mexico, Delaware, New York, Washington and Massachusetts. In 2007, NICHQ launched the Childhood Obesity Action Network (COAN) to link clinicians and policy makers together, provide tools and materials for clinical and policy change, and promote innovation through social networking.

Founded in 1999, the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is an action-oriented organization dedicated to achieving a world in which all children receive the high-quality healthcare they need. Led by experienced pediatric healthcare professionals, NICHQ’s mission is to improve children’s health by improving the systems responsible for the delivery of children’s healthcare. For more information, visit www.nichq.org.

About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

About the CMA Foundation
The CMA Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves as a link between physicians and their communities. The Foundation improves individual and community health through a partnership of leaders in medicine, related health professionals and the community. The CMA Foundation has developed a cutting edge Physician Champion program that can serve as a template for national programs. This innovative approach to obesity prevention has been cited as a “best practice” in the 2006 Institute of Medicine Preventing Childhood Obesity report. For more information about the CMA Foundation, visit www.thecmafoundation.org.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity is a leading voice in the national movement to reverse the epidemic by 2015. Through policy analysis, leadership development, and communications with a broad network of advocates, the center is working to enable children of all races, ethnicities and geographic locations to eat healthy, be physically active and avoid obesity.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and healthcare of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.