MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Mecklenburg County health program was named one of two grand prize winners of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, winning $500,000 in grants and prizes to combat cardiovascular disease.
Mecklenburg County’s Village HeartBEAT was named one of the grand prize winners by The Aetna Foundation, who launched the challenge in 2016.
Gov. Roy Cooper celebrated with leaders and partner organizations at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center during the announcement Tuesday.
“The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), empowered 50 cities and counties nationwide to make measurable, scalable improvements to pressing public health issues,” a release from challenge officials said.
The challenge has awarded a total of $1.5 million in grants and prizes to participating programs since its inception.
“It was a program that started out very small, but as the program developed, more and more citizens got involved and I can tell you that Mecklenburg County is a much healthier place because of Village HeartBEAT,” Mecklenburg County Commissioner Chairman George Dunlap said.
The awarding is part of a $100 million commitment by CVS Health and its affiliates.
"We recognize to solve our most pressing public health issues, we have to start at the local level – acknowledging the solutions to our problems are as diverse as the communities facing them,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation, an independent philanthropic arm of CVS Health.