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A project led by the University of Alabama is promoting healthy living in Alabama neighborhoods


The Equitable Neighborhoods will serve an additional five communities after a $3 million extension to their grant. The funding comes from the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Originally, the grant was over $4 million and was used to help 15 neighborhoods across the state of Alabama.

The grant will be used to help solve issues in rural communities that have experienced concerns that were intensified by the pandemic. Issues such as shortages in healthy food, internet access, outdoor exercise spaces, public transportation and more.

Doctor Arturo Menefee is the project leader and director of leadership development. He says that the project works by utilizing community engagement so that community members can better decide what needs to be done.

”We do hope to make some significant progress in terms of not only getting local community members what they need, but also bringing them to the table. This is a very inclusive process. We feel that we need everybody at the table to really address these issues. One person, one entity can't do it alone. And so we're bringing everybody to the table to lay out strategies to identify resources, and to put forth a good plan that will really help these communities in terms of getting better,” Says Dr.Menefee.

Dr.Menefee says that the project ensures that there is a lasting positive impact through creating a flexible structure that meets the needs of the specific community that they are working with.

“We are working various communities and the thing that I love about this is that we can tailor it to meet the needs of the local community, we didn't want to go in saying ‘hey we will establish this process and we want you to only do it this way.’ We gave them a structure. But we're very flexible within that structure to meet the needs of those local communities,” says Dr. Menefee.

For more information on the Equitable Neighborhood Initiative, visit About (

Hannah Holcombe is a student intern at the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She is a Sophomore at the University of Alabama and is studying news media. She has a love for plants, dogs and writing. She hopes to pursue a career as a reporter.
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