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Healthy living program on Syracuse's Near West Side gets grant to expand

Ellen Abbott
WRVO file photo
St. Joseph's primary care clinic opened in January 2014.

A program to encourage healthy living in one of Syracuse’s most low income neighborhoods is getting a big funding push.

The New York State Health Foundation is giving the Lerner Center at Syracuse University a quarter million dollars to expand its healthy eating and exercise program on the city’s Near West Side. The Lerner Center is working with Nojaims Supermarket and the fairly new St. Joseph’s hospital health clinic that’s right next door.

The program is driven by neighborhood resident feedback, said Rebecca Bostwick, program director at the Lerner Center. "Before we go create solutions, let’s truly understand what’s going to work best for this community." 

The $250,000 two year grant will help pay for educational programs within the grocery store, upgrades to nearby city park and cooking classes.

"There’s a lot of creative work that we can do, not only in the grocery store, in terms of how we talk about nutrition with the residents, but also what does it look like in a primary care setting and how do primary care providers reinforce that message," Bostwick said.

The Near West Side has higher rates of childhood poverty and chronic diseases like diabetes than other sections of the city.

Syracuse is one of six places New York to receive the grant. Others include Niagara Falls and low income sections of New York City.