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Food Access
Spotlights of the Month
Tools & Resources
About Us
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Building Healthy Food Access 
This Thanksgiving many of us will be taking a break from our 10,000 daily steps and healthy salads as we all indulge in our family's famous stuffing and an extra slice (or two) of pumpkin pie. While eating healthy and staying active might not be top of any of our minds this holiday season, we encourage everyone to take time to consider the residents in our communities who might struggle to access enough food for a healthy, active life.

Lack of regular access to healthy, affordable, and nutritious food is often referred to as "food insecurity." Recent statewide data shows that 11.1% of Marylanders and 10.6% of Virginians face hunger and food insecurity. This data also shows that residents in some counties  in both states face even higher rates of food insecurity. While food insecurity rates vary across the region, the message is clear: far too many people struggle to feed themselves and their families. This results in a myriad of negative social, economic, and health outcome, including  increased risk for obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases.

Why are 15 million people in the United States facing hunger and food insecurity? Why do people in your community and neighborhood struggle to feed themselves and their families?  While the root causes are complex, we do know that food insecurity is exacerbated by the environments in which we live, work, play, and pray. If residents are unable to conveniently access a farmers market, grocery store, food pantry, or other food retailer, residents are faced with a challenging reality.

This season - we're encouraging each of you to consider how your municipality supports residents' access to safe, affordable, and healthy food.  Are there policies or programs that can support improved food access in areas of need?  Many HEAL Campaign members have outlined HEAL Resolution goals that seek to improve access to affordable and nutritious food. From farmers markets that accept SNAP (previously known as food stamps) to community garden ordinances that promote and protect urban agriculture, we know that cities and towns can champion these issues through innovative policy and programmatic initiatives.

Where to go next? Check out ChangeLab Solutions Healthy Food Environments Toolkits  for information on attracting new grocery stores, improving corner store environments, making restaurants healthier, and more.  For further technical assistance, email HEAL Campaign staff to schedule a call. We're happy to help identify resources tailored to your community's needs and discuss HEAL implementation strategies to help you accomplish your Resolution goals. To schedule a call or meeting, email  Sydney Daigle at and Julia Groenfeldt at

The National League of Cities | City Summit 
The National League of Cities is hosting the upcoming City Summit conference in Los Angeles, CA on November 7-10, 2018. This year, the HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign will be conducting  a focus group for small and medium-sized city and town thought leaders.  If you will be attending the upcoming conference, please let us know by emailing Sydney Daigle at
Spotlight of the Month | Gaithersburg, MD
T his month, we're reissuing our Spotlight feature on Gaithersburg, Maryland. Read how this city is  leading health and wellness initiatives through innovative partnerships to host community wellness events, construct new bike paths, and more. This article illustrates how Gaithersburg is bringing HEAL to both City staff and residents through activities and resources that help make the healthy choice an easy choice.  Read   the Spotlight article  here.

Interested in having your city or town featured in an upcoming Spotlight article? Please send a request to Julia Groenfeldt, HEAL Program Associate, at   or 202-747-3455. 
Tools and Resources
Webinar | Where Do We Go From Here? Mapping and Tracking in the Future:  This webinar from America Walks will explore new and existing resources and ways information is being used to create active, healthy, and engaged communities for all residents. Learn how your community can find, use, and apply data and mapping technology to improve walkability  in your city or town. The webinar will be held at 2 PM EST on November 14th, 2018. Register here
Resource | Interventions to Increase Active Travel to School:  The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) issued recommended interventions to increase active travel to school.  Active travel to school interventions make it easier for children and adolescents to commute to school actively (e.g., walking or biking). They do this by working to improve the physical or social safety of common routes to school or by promoting safe pedestrian behaviors.  Read about how active travel can benefit your community and find resources to help you implement programs in partnership with local schools  here
Campaign | Healthiest Maryland Businesses:  The Healthiest Maryland Business is a state-wide initiative to increase the health of Maryland employees. Businesses who join Healthiest Maryland Businesses are helping to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy workforce. When businesses join, they  receive  consultation with worksite  wellness specialists , educational  training  and peer support, and  evidence based  workplace wellness resources. Find out more here .
Grants & Funding  
Walkability Action Institute:  The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and partners seek applications from   from Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) regions (or other similar regional entities, such as  Regional Planning Organizations, Transportation Planning Organizations, Regional Councils of Government, Transportation Management Agencies, etc.) for competitive funding assistance to  support attendance at the Fifth Annual Walkability Action Institute in Atlanta, Georgia on April 22-25, 2019. The  action institute will provide teams with the most up-to date academic and applied learning methods, and will reinforce and support implementation of significant national public health policy statements promoting walking and walkability. Applications are due by December 14, 2018. More information can be found  here
Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant:  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Land Acquisition and Planning is funding projects related to the acquisitions, development and  maintenance of outdoor  recreational areas, facilities and properties, including athletic fields, boat  launches, fishing piers, playgrounds, trails and more. Municipalities and counties are eligible for up to a 50% matching fund with requests capped at $800,000. Communities are encouraged to apply and submit preliminary application forms by December 18, 2018. More information can be found   here
About Us
HEAL is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation in  partnership with the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues and funded by Kaiser Permanente, founding partner.

For more information on the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign, p lease visit the website at or contact HEAL Campaign Associate, Julia Groenfeldt at
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