Grant to Better Health

Gadsden County has its share of health problems. It has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the state and ranks third highest in its death rate for diabetes

County officials along with Florida A&M have just acquired a $6 million grant to help eliminate health disparities in this rural county. They're hoping research from this grant will help save lives.

Gerard McQuay has been diagnosed with diabetes for four years. He has been so ill these last few days that doctors have decided to admit him to the hospital. He is one of thousands of Gadsden residents diagnosed with the deadly disease.

Gadsden County officials and Florida A&M University, in partnership with Harvard University, are hoping to help future generations. A press conference Monday informed folks about a $6 million grant to study health disparities in the county.

"It allows us to conduct research in a multitude of arenas. We're going to look at high blood pressure and how it contributes to hypertension that's one of the major arenas of health disparities," says Dr. Cindy Hughes Harris, Dean of the School of Allied Health Services.

"Our desire is to create a social transformation movement that for the community creates new attitude new behavior new prospective about health," says Deborah Prothrow-Smith of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Gadsden county commissioners are hoping this four-year grant will be used as a means of prevention.

"In terms of diabetes if we catch the diabetes long before it causes you blindness, heart problem, your chances of living healthy prosperous life increases," says Gadsden County Commissioner, Ed Dixon.

This four-year grant will be used for social and scientific research. Gadsden County will serve as a model for the nation.

They are not just focusing on diabetes and infant mortality. They will be researching people who have cancer, heart disease, stroke, any of the diseases that impact the community.