The New Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church (NMC), led by the Rev. Dr. Sonja R. Dawson, will host Health and Wellness Sunday on March 9, to promote health and wellness education to its local congregants and officially launch the Project H.E.A.L. Initiative.
The initiative is a partnership between NMC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, and USC Cecil Murray Center for Civic Engagement to develop a faith-based pilot intervention to address diabetes and obesity prevention and education through the African American faith community. Funding has been provided through the California Community Foundation.
Over the next two years, the Project H.E.A.L Initiative hopes to: 1) to work with the faith based community to promote health education and improve health outcomes, 2) increase access to care for at-risk children, adolescents and adult congregants through family-centered, age appropriate, and culturally sensitive lifestyle interventions, 3) build capacity for the congregation to sustain these interventions over time, and 4) train primary care physicians in the South Los Angeles community in working and treating at-risk youth and adults with diabetes, obesity, and other related illnesses.
Under the leadership of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the initiative will work with the Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers to meet the health care needs of congregants and provide training in adolescent diabetes and obesity prevention and care.
Currently, the partnership has developed a Health and Wellness Advisory Council comprised of 12 NMC members to help with program development and coordination. Also, funding has allowed NMC to hire a Congregational Care Coordinator and six Peer Health Educators to help facilitate program activities.
In addition, nine families are participating in the first session of the Kids N Fitness, a clinical program of Children’s Hospital that educates families about weight management, exercise, and nutrition.
New Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church is located at 402 East El Segundo Boulevard in Los Angeles. For information, call (310) 324-0644.