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Rochester Launches H.E.A.R.T. Program to Improve Residents' Health

The City of Rochester has received a $3.6 million dollar grant from the Center for Disease Control to launch a new health related program.

HEART stands for Health Engagement and Action for Rochester's Transformation. It's  a city-wide effort to improve the health of area residents through projects that support healthy behaviors.

Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher helped to launch the new initiative by moderating Monday's healthcare summit about the health needs and concerns of Rochester's community.

"The social determinates of health...those conditions are more important to health outcome than health care. That's been a hard pill to swallow but it's true," says Satcher.

The HEART initiative calls for interventions in the community, work sites, health care and schools.

Rochester's Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon agrees that more needs to be done to address economic disparities in order to help improve resident's health; particularly in the city's children. He says 80% of the school district's children receive at least one meal a day through public assistance.

"28 % of the city's population is below the poverty level of $30,000 as a family. That makes a significant challenge for us in how we are able to provide an environment for those children to be able to learn appropriately," says Redon.

The HEART initiative will address a number of health concerns including tobacco use, active living, healthy eating and high blood pressure and cholesterol.