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Hospital lands $50K grant to fight obesity
St. Francis Medical Center launching free exercise classes, health screenings.

LYNWOOD – St. Francis Medical Center has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to add a new community fitness campaign as part of its ongoing Vida Sana wellness initiative.
Funds will support free exercise classes, nutrition education and biometric health screenings for 1,000 individuals and families living in Southeast Los Angeles, a predominately Latino community with some of the highest obesity rates in the city.
“We are so proud to work with the Aetna Foundation to make our vision of community wellness a reality,” said Gerald Kozai, Pharm.D., president and CEO, St. Francis Medical Center. “With this additional funding, we will be able to expand our Vida Sana community outreach to encourage lifestyle choices that support good health and can help prevent disease.
Aetna Foundation will present the grant check to St. Francis this Saturday at noon.
Founded in 2004, Vida Sana-Healthy Life is a community wellness program that collaborates with local churches and community centers to promote healthy lifestyles in culturally sensitive ways. The program teaches individuals how to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being through physical fitness, health education, nutrition education, and stress reduction.
Reducing obesity is currently the main focus of the comprehensive program.
Sharon Dalton, vice president of the Aetna Foundation and director of its regional grant making, said, “Our mission is to promote health and wellness, particularly in underserved communities. By bringing together families in familiar community settings, Vida Sana is a great way to make healthy new habits stick.”
The philanthropic arm of Aetna, the Aetna Foundation supports wellness through grant funding. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $427 million in grants and sponsorships to improve the health status and quality of care for individuals and communities.
“With 15 sessions annually at eight Vida Sana partner churches, we will be able to spread our message of wellness and fight obesity in our community,” said Mary Eileen “Dub” Drees, vice president of development and CEO, St. Francis Medical Foundation. “Our efforts will focus on enrolling residents into fitness classes, as well as training parish volunteers to become certified fitness instructors.”
Free classes are being held at the following churches and community centers: St. Michael’s Church, Los Angeles; Sacred Heart Church, Compton; St. Albert the Great Church, Compton; St. Gertrude Church, Bell Gardens; St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Los Angeles; Our Lady of Victory Church, Compton; St. Emydius Church, Lynwood; the Bradley Milken Youth and Family Center, Los Angeles; Hosler Middle School, Lynwood; Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Bell Gardens; and Bell Gardens High School.
Registration and schedule information is available by calling (310) 900-8407 or (310) 900-7338.

Published: Aug. 22, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 19

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