UNC Charlotte Work in UCITY Family Zone Boosted by $220,000 Grant

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UNC Charlotte and its many partners through the UCITY Family Zone are continuing to expand their efforts to improve social determinants of health in the local community with a $220,000 grant award from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. With this funding, the UCITY Family Zone will further its work in addressing social drivers of health and well-being for high-risk families who reside in and around the University City community.

“We are thankful for this funding to help us manage social determinants, which account for over 70% of healthcare outcomes, and to improve social connectivity throughout the UCITY Family Zone,” said Mark DeHaven, UNC Charlotte Dean W. Colvard Distinguished Professor of Community Health and Co-Director of the UCITY Family Zone. “This work has been years in the making and the award will help to refine and test evidence-based approaches for improving the quality of life for residents, while also guiding Medicaid transformation and other health reform efforts to directly improve population health outcomes in low-income communities.”

(Photo: UCITY Family Zone hosts “Kid’s Chef School”)

UCITY Family Zone will receive $110,000 per year for two years. The grant will help to improve services for families at highest risk of poverty-related illnesses and early death due to social and demographic characteristics such as unstable housing, food insecurity, low educational attainment and economic instability.

A collaborative, place-based initiative, UCITY Family Zone empowers community members in ways that increase opportunities and improve conditions for enhanced quality of life. Efforts that will benefit from the award include a community ambassador program for linking families to available social services and enhanced communications among the more than 100 organizations participating in the Family Zone, which is home to more than 53,430 residents and encompasses an area of nearly 18 square miles.

(Photo: map of the UCITY Family Zone)

The new grant will also support doctoral students from the UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services, who will be responsible for research and evaluation.

“I’m so proud of our many great partners working together in varying capacities to help ensure the health and prosperity of our neighbors,” said Darlene Heater, Executive Director of University City Partners and Co-Founder of the UCITY Family Zone. “From researchers to community leaders, the grant award will help us to facilitate programs and activities that have been proven to improve one’s quality of life.”

The grant will also bring the UCITY Family Zone into a partnership with Care Ring and CrossRoads Corporation for Affordable Housing. The three organizations together will further explore the interface between the social and other health care access needs of families, as well as social drivers of health and the connectivity of neighborhoods. The project will produce best practices for more effectively engaging and aligning health care systems with community priorities, in ways that engage community leadership for increasing health promotion and disease prevention. Learn more about the partnership here.