University awarded grant for CARE program

Joshua LaBella and Jacob WaringManaging Editor, Contributor

President Joe Bertolino announced during the 125th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration that the university has received a $3.68 million grant—one of the largest the university has ever received.

“The Center for Disease Control has awarded Southern a major grant to our CARE program, the Community Alliance for Research and engagement,” said Bertolino, “which is a partnership between our school’s health and human

services and the Yale School of Public Health.”

Alycia Santilli, director of CARE, said they received a confirmation from the CDC about being awarded the grant on Thursday.
She said the grant will be dispersed over 5 years— around $720 thousand a year. Santilli was congratulated by Bertolino.

“The call for the grant was under Racial and Ethnic Approaches
to Community Health (REACH),” said Santilli. “It’s a competitive grant process that the CDC releases every 5 years. They award about 30 [every five years].”

According to Santilli, the grant is concentrated on health disparities related to chronic disease and low income communities of color. She said the grant would be focused on strategies related to nutrition, physical activity and community clinical linkages.

“CARE has been around in New Haven for around 10 years,” said Santilli. “One of the major assets that attracted us to becoming imbedded within Southern is, quite frankly because of the assets that the students bring to the work that we do.”

Santilli said they are focused on bettering the health in New Haven and the way they do so is to engage directly with residents and community based organizations.

She said because a lot of students at Southern are from the New Haven community it made sense for CARE to engage and train with the student body. She said the grant money would be used in a few different ways.

“The city of New Haven is particularly well positioned for this grant,” said Santilli. “We are very proud to be partnering with several non-profit organizations in the community. So we will be giving some of our money right back out into the community.”

Santilli said Project Access – New Haven would be a main partner. She said they were an organization that focuses on access to health care. She said CARE would be funding a community health worker whose job it would be to insure people have access to health care and social services. She also said a main component of CARE’s services is a program called New Haven Health Leaders.

“We engage directly with residents and with students at Southern who are from New Haven,” said Santilli, “to work on different health initiatives in their own local communities. So that will be a big focus.”

Santilli said she was excited the grant will also support several positions for graduate assistants. She said it will provide graduate students on the ground experience and a chance to improve health. She said everyone within the Health and Human Services department and the administration were very excited about the grant.

“It’s one of the biggest grants to come to our university,” said Santilli. “There’s been a lot of enthusiasm and support for our work. Not just for CARE and for Southern, but for the change that this has the potential to make in our communities.

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana




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