September 28, 2010

NICHQ Tapped to Create and Manage National Prevention Center for Healthy Weight

NICHQ Awarded $5 Million by HRSA to Lead Nationwide Quality Improvement Program to Help Address Obesity in Children and Families

Part of Nearly $100 Million Granted by HHS for Key Public Health and Prevention Priorities through the Affordable Care Act

Boston, MA, September 28, 2010 — The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) announced today it has been awarded a $5 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to help address the obesity epidemic. NICHQ will lead a consortium of organizations to establish a national Prevention Center for Healthy Weight for the Health Services and Resources Administration. This Center will guide and support the activities of teams from at least 50 communities across the nation to better prevent and treat obesity.

Obesity constitutes a grave threat to the health and well-being of our nation. Obesity rates have risen dramatically over the past decades with particularly strong impact on diverse and disadvantaged communities. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States has the highest rate of obesity among all developed nations. Three in four Americans will become overweight or obese by 2020, unless industry, the public and the government work together to address the issue.

NICHQ’s program will establish the collaborations recommended by the OECD – partnerships between health care, public health and community-based organizations. These partnerships should lead to changes in the community environment and individual health behaviors to promote healthy weight and health equity. The program will focus on children and families from across the nation, with an emphasis on communities at higher risk.

NICHQ will lead the program in collaboration with the following expert partners: the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, CSI Solutions, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Let’s Go!: Maine Medical Center, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Community Health Centers and Nemours.

“NICHQ has been working for nearly a decade to address the growing threat of obesity, and we have helped thousands of health care professionals – doctors, nurses, dieticians, and others – be more effective in counseling families and in working to make their communities healthier places to live,” said Charles Homer, MD, NICHQ’s President and CEO. “We are honored to have this opportunity to extend the work with our many partners under HRSA’s leadership to contribute to solving this critical issue.”

“The Prevention Center for Healthy Weight will play a key role in identifying collaborative strategies for addressing and reducing obesity – an alarming and growing public health problem,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, PhD, RN.

Senator John Kerry congratulates NICHQ’s President and CEO, Charles Homer, MD, and Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Sachs Steele, MEd, after the announcement of the grant award.
United States Senator John Kerry congratulated NICHQ for this award in his remarks at the Boston Medical Center on Friday, September 24. Senator Kerry was on hand to highlight how national health care reform will benefit Massachusetts hospitals. “We know we need to focus not just on sickness, but on wellness,” said Kerry. “The unique work being done by organizations like the NICHQ is ensuring Massachusetts continues to lead the way in quality, affordable healthcare.”

Founded in 1999, the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) is an independent, not-for-profit, 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.

Read the press release from HRSA

Read the press release from Senator Kerry's office.