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The Partnership Center Newsletter

March 8, 2012 Edition

In this issue, you will find…

Dear Partners:

Greetings! I’m very pleased to have returned to HHS last month from a year-long detail to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. It was a good year, and I look forward to continuing in my role as the director of the HHS Partnership Center and learning more about the good work you’ve been doing in your communities.

One of the very first things on my agenda when I returned to HHS was participating in a convening that we co-hosted with the White House Faith-based Office, Improving Health Outcomes through Faith-Based and Community Partnerships: Best Practices from Health Systems in the Field. The gathering brought together senior leadership from non-profit hospital systems around the country to share their innovative ideas for engaging communities as partners in health.

Also this month, the Center joined First Lady Michelle Obama on the final day of her Let’s Move! 2nd Anniversary tour at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida, where she announced a new Let’s Move! video challenge to inspire communities to share their stories about the work their members are doing to combat childhood obesity. Visit the new Let’s Move Faith and Communities website to find out how you can share your community’s story – or start writing a new one.

The Affordable Care Act also turns two in March, and continues to ensure access to affordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, strengthen Medicare, provide access to free preventive services, and make it possible for children under the age of 26 to be covered by their parent’s health insurance. As more provisions of the law are implemented, we’ll continue our ACA 101 conference call series—which gives you the unique opportunity to interact directly with senior HHS staff and ask any questions you might have about the health care law.

Finally, this past February, the HHS Partnership Center participated in a number of events to mark African-American History month, including a White House community briefing for the National Black Nurses Association with the Surgeon General. In addition, the Partnership Center co-sponsored a convening with the Administration on Aging with African-American faith leaders concerning older African-Americans and health disparities.

I look forward to working with you in the months to come. Please feel free to email us at or call us at 202-358-3595 to let us know how we can support your work.



Alexia Kelley, Director
Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


Let's Move Faith and Communities Update

The First Lady Praises Faith and Community Groups

Faith and community groups are leading the way! That was the theme of First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech celebrating the second anniversary of Let’s Move! The First Lady visited Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida as part of her three-day anniversary tour celebrating the nationwide initiative she launched to end childhood obesity in a generation. At the event, the First Lady spoke to over 3,000 Let’s Move Faith and Communities supporters of diverse backgrounds, including congregants, community members, and health and wellness leaders from 120 congregations and organizations in the Central Florida area, representing 15 different faiths and denominations. The First Lady was graciously welcomed by Dr. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, and Mrs. Becky Hunter.

The First Lady thanked everyone for the critical work faith-based and neighborhood organizations do to support the health of children in their communities. And to highlight the great work these groups are engaged in across the country, she announced the Communities on the Move video challenge, telling the crowd, “whatever you do, I want to know about it.” Through the video challenge, the First Lady is inviting national and local faith-based and community groups from all corners of the country to share their innovative and inspiring efforts to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. The video challenge recognizes community efforts that promote healthy lifestyles for kids in three areas: by encouraging nutritious eating through USDA’s MyPlate icon, increasing physical activity, and ensuring access to healthy, affordable foods. Winners will be invited to Washington, D.C. for a Let’s Move! event where they will have a special opportunity to showcase their video.

“America’s faith communities play a crucial role in guiding and strengthening not only our spiritual health, but our emotional and physical health as well,” the First Lady said. “Over the past two years, I’ve been inspired by all of the faith leaders and congregations who have taken action to get active and eat healthier, and so we’re launching our Let’s Move! video contest to highlight some of the best examples. I know there’s so much incredible work being done – and I can’t wait to hear some of these stories first-hand at the White House.”

Be sure to check out more Let’s Move Faith and Communities success stories and best practices for additional ideas on getting active, healthy eating, and making healthy food affordable and accessible to your community. To sign up and join our network of supporters, please visit us online.


If your community members are doing great work to combat childhood obesity, the First Lady wants to hear about it. Learn more about the Communities on the Move Video Challenge!


Seventh-Day Adventists Celebrate Adventist InStep for Life

One of the highlights of this year’s Annual Health Summit in Orlando, FL sponsored by the North American Division of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was the Adventist InStep for Life Celebration and Awards event. This year’s program marked the extraordinary achievements of Adventist hospitals, health ministers and congregations who led the way in increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy, affordable food for their communities.

Created in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, the Adventists InStep for Life program was designed to help Adventist churches, schools and health care organizations join in the effort of reversing the trend toward childhood obesity. Every NAD conference, church, school, university and health care organization has been encouraged to form an Adventists InStep for Life team to coordinate activities that increase physical activity, inspire nutritional eating, and create access to healthy, affordable food.

And their communities answered the call by collectively walking over two million miles (double their goal of one million miles walked!), adding 16 Summer feeding sites so that kids wouldn’t go hungry when school was out, and planting 101 new community gardens!

The gathering was honored by the presence of the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin, who recognized the Adventists as early leaders in the effort to emphasize wellness and preventive care as a priority. Dr. Benjamin shared the opportunities in the National Prevention Strategy and its primary goal of moving the healthcare system from a focus on sickness and disease to a focus on wellness and prevention. “If we want to truly reform health care in this country,” she said, “we need to prevent people from getting sick in the first place, to stop illness and disease before it starts.”

The Surgeon General recognized the Adventist Church’s proactive nature and “wellness-first” strategies, and noted that the community was an exemplar of “making health something you live, not just something you hope happens.”

The HHS Partnership Center joined Dr. Benjamin; Donna Richardson Joyner, a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; Katia Reinert, director of Health Ministries for the North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventists; and Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division, to celebrate and present awards to those across the country who led the way in making their communities healthier. All award recipients and many of their success stories can be seen at

As the Adventist community looks forward, their commitment to make “Every Church a Center for Health, Healing and Wholeness” seems well within reach, given the strength of their national leadership, their capacity to train and equip community members, and their clear vision that healthful practices are part of God’s intent that all shall “have life and have it more abundantly.”

To see how the Adventists adapted the Let’s Move Faith and Communities toolkit for use throughout their communities, check out the Adventists InStep for Life toolkit.

Adventists InStep for Life is sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in North America, its Health institutions and Hope Channel and coordinated by the Adventist Health Ministries department.


Featured Update– Consumer Health Care Improved with Health Information Technology

“Health Information Technology” (health IT) refers to electronic systems that health care professionals – and increasingly patients – use to store, share and analyze health information. Now, through the use of secure heath IT, health care will benefit from advancements that ensure that health information is kept confidential and is made available when and where it is needed. Secure health IT contributes to care that is safer, higher-quality, more coordinated, more efficient, and less costly for everyone.

Health IT can free you to focus on your health instead of on the everyday hassles of managing your health care. It lets you receive faster, more accurate prescriptions, helps you and your healthcare professionals reduce paperwork, and can help reduce unnecessary tests, while assisting you and those that care for you with better follow-up and better follow-through.

Here are some ways that you can be more engaged in your health care through health IT:

  • Ask your doctor if he or she uses an electronic health record (EHR) – you're likely to get safer, more convenient care. For example, using electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) to get your prescription sent directly to the pharmacy.
  • When you’re searching for or switching providers, look for a doctor who uses an electronic health record (EHR).
  • Ask for a copy of your own health record and get it electronically, if possible. With access to your own health information, you can better understand your own health, share important information with doctors or other providers who help to care for you so they can coordinate better, and check to make sure the information about you is correct and complete.
  • Take advantage of tools like text reminders, online communities, health games and remote monitoring services – there are lots of tools and services available to the public to help you manage and maintain your health.

Learn more about how you can improve your health care through health IT at .


MedicalReserve Corps Celebrates 10 Years!

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is celebrating 10 years of building strong, healthy and resilient communities. Its mission is to engage volunteers to strengthen public health, emergency response and community resiliency at the local level. MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals as well as others committed to carrying out the MRC mission in their local jurisdictions.

Established in 2002, the MRC has grown to a nationwide network of close to 1000 community-based units in all 50 states and several U.S. territories, with more than 200,000 volunteers. The MRC began as an emergency response effort following the events of 9/11 and continues to provide medical and non-medical support in times of disasters. Recognizing that healthy, resilient communities are less susceptible to the impact of disasters, many MRC activities also focus on health education and promotion with guidance from the National Prevention Strategy and other public health initiatives.

MRC units must maintain a diverse volunteer base that meets the health, preparedness and response needs of their local communities. The skills and experience of volunteers go beyond that of traditional medicine and public health to include allied and mental health expertise, logistics and administrative assistance, spiritual needs and emotional support.

Maintaining strong partnerships with organizations who share the common goal of healthy, resilient communities is an essential component of the MRC mission. Many MRC units are housed in their local health departments, hospitals or emergency management agencies, while others are managed by faith-based organizations including churches and charities. MRC units frequently work with the local American Red Cross chapter in emergency sheltering operations and share joint trainings. Units also partner with other local organizations to promote healthy living through initiatives such as the Let’s Move and Million Hearts initiatives.

The MRC network continues to grow by establishing additional units and expanding the geographic coverage of its activities, as well as through further recruitment and retention of volunteers.

We hope you will join with us for the next 10 years as we continue to build strong, healthy and resilient communities.

To find more information on becoming a volunteer or establishing an MRC unit if your community is in need of emergency and public health preparedness support, go to:

You can also contact the Program Office (Office of the Surgeon General/Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps) at:


Upcoming Events

Health Care Conference Calls

The HHS Partnership Center continues to host a series of interactive conference calls discussing the benefits and provisions of the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.

All calls are open to the public and include a question and answer session where you can ask HHS staff any questions you may have about the health care reform law. We also encourage you to submit questions you would like to have answered on the calls to

To participate in one of the conference calls, please select your preferred date from the list below and submit the necessary information. Call-in information and Power Point slides will be made available 24 hours in advance.

March 8 at 3:00 pm ET – The Health Care Law and Behavioral Health

(Mental Health and Substance Abuse)

March 14 at 3:30 pm ET – The Health Care Law and Wellness

March 27 at 2:00 pm ET - The Health Care Law 101 (in Spanish)

April 5 at 12:30 pm ET - Tour of

April 24 at 2:00 pm ET - Health Care 101 (in Spanish)

Empowering America's Grassroots

Grant Opportunities

As always, the final section of our newsletter includes an updated grants listing that faith-based and community nonprofits can pursue. It is important to review the funding announcement thoroughly to ensure that the grant is one that is appropriate to your organization’s mission, size, and scope.

Grants Listings

Title:Ethnic Community Self Help Program

Description: The objective of this program is to strengthen organized ethnic communities comprised and representative of refugee populations to ensure ongoing support and services within five years after initial resettlement. The populations targeted for services and benefits in the application must represent refugee communities which have arrived in the U.S. within the last five years (no earlier than 2006).

Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are eligible to apply.

Funding: 15 awards will be provided, each totaling between $100,000 and $250,000. The estimated total program funding is $2,000,000.

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: March 13, 2012

Grant is administered by the:Administration for Children and Families


Title:Obesity Policy Research: Evaluation and Measures

Description: This grant opportunity encourages applicants to:  (1) conduct evaluation research on obesity-related natural experiments (defined here as community and other population-level public policy interventions that may affect diet and physical activity behavior), and/or (2) develop and/or validate relevant community-level measures (instruments and methodologies to assess the food and physical activity environments at the community level). The overarching goal of this FOA is to inform public policy and research relevant to (1) diet and physical activity behavior, and (2) weight and health outcomes of Americans

Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply. The opportunity is also available to various governmental entities, local organizations, for-profit groups and small businesses. 

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: February 7, 2013

Grant is administered by the:National Institutes of Health


Title:Academic-Community Partnership Conference Series

Description: The purpose of this grant opportunity to bring together academic institutions/organizations and community organizations to identify opportunities for addressing health disparities through the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The objectives of meetings conducted as part of this award will be to: (1) establish and/or enhance academic-community partnerships; (2) identify community-driven research priorities, and (3) develop long-term collaborative CBPR research agendas.

Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply. The opportunity is also available to various governmental entities, local organizations, for-profit groups and small businesses. 

Link to Full Announcement:Link to Full Announcement

Last Day to Apply: October 17, 2014

Grant is administered by the:National Institutes of Health