PROVIDENCE – Three Rhode Island communities have been established as Health Equity Zones by the state’s Department of Health.
East Providence, Cranston and the West End in Providence competed against nearly 20 other applicants from across the state for inclusion in the program.
The communities’ designation means they will share about $1.4 million in funding with seven other existing Health Equity Zones.
The year-long program is based on research showing that up to 80% of factors with a direct impact on health are found outside of doctors’ offices.
Communities designated as Health Equity Zones provide resources to residents to help connect them access to healthy food, quality education, jobs and safe neighborhoods.
With an official start in June, contracts with the newly-named communities may be renewed for up to four additional years based on their performance as Health Equity Zones.
The three successful applications for the program were submitted by a municipal or nonprofit community-based group positioned to serve as the backbone agency for local Health Equity Zones. The East Bay Community Action Program, Comprehensive Community Action Plan and West Elmwood Housing Corporation will lead efforts in each of the selected communities.
“With plans for strong mentorship from existing Health Equity Zones, these communities are taking the forces that shape their health and well-being into their own hands,” Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of Rhode Island’s Department of Health, said in a statement. “I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next few years as we continue to lift up this initiative as a national model of how such an infrastructure led by community members can create the conditions needed for every person to thrive.”