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Local Organizations Rally to Address Community Needs in Metro Atlanta

The Metro Atlanta Coalition for Healthy Neighborhoods (MACHN) aims to create sustainable change and eliminate the socioeconomic factors that affect an individual’s overall health

July 25, ATLANTA – The American Heart Association, Retaaza, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority, and Lucky Shoals Community Association have formed a coalition with the hopes of combining resources as well as health and wellness change agents to create a healthier metro Atlanta community.

The Metro Atlanta Coalition for Healthy Neighborhoods (MACHN) focuses on restoring health, promoting resilience, and preventing diseases across a lifespan. In metro Atlanta, life expectancy varies considerably by neighborhood. In 2020, the average life expectancy in Georgia was 75.6 years1. The life expectancy of a person living in the zip code 30315 in Lakewood Heights can be 11 years less than someone living just 12 miles away in the zip code 30309 in Midtown Atlanta. This data reflects the direct correlation of how social support, financial resources, education, employment, and stable housing – all classified as health disparities – directly impact Atlantans’ ability to access adequate health care, engage in healthy behaviors, and live in a healthy environment. These disparities are not addressed in traditional clinical and preventive health care, but they have a large influence on health.

As a result, the MACHN is committed to supporting community-driven efforts that advance health equity – the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Each organization that is a part of the coalition has a mission that is centered around health equity.

“At Retaaza, we believe that we can support our hungry neighbors and support our local farmers at the same time. Healthy, fresh, local food should be easy to access and affordable for everyone,” said Kashi Sehgal, Founder and CEO of Retaaza. “We work towards this every day. As members of the coalition, through innovative thinking and collaboration, we are all working together to cultivate a healthier, more sustainable future for all.”

Both Retaaza and Wholesome Wave Georgia have a specific focus on healthy food access and addressing food insecurity which is a factor that impacts the advancement of health equity. Research shows that 1 in 9 Georgians are food insecure2.

“Since our founding almost 20 years ago, Wholesome Wave Georgia has focused and continues to focus on working with innovative, committed partners that make fresh, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables available and affordable,” said Will Sellers, Wholesome Wave Georgia’s Executive Director.  “Working toward health equity is the right thing to do for all of our organizations to ensure a more viable and healthy community.”

The American Heart Association along with Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority and Lucky Shoals Community Association focus on access to quality health care, food access, chronic disease prevention, mental well-being, research as well as health programs.

“Addressing health disparities is everyone’s responsibility, and there’s no way to achieve a healthier or more equitable future if it is solely one community organization’s responsibility to solve,” said Shana Scott, Vice President of Community Impact for the American Heart Association in metro Atlanta. “By focusing on those we serve, we can channel heartfelt intensity into advocating, motivating and educating people so they can live longer, healthier lives.”

The first event that will be held by the MACHN will take place on Friday, August 11 at CenterWell Adamsville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is open to the public. The pop-up market will bring healthy, fresh produce from local farmers to sell as well as provide wrap-around community health services such as blood pressure screenings.

For more information or to get involved, contact Shana Scott at Shana.Scott@heart.org.

About the Metro Atlanta Coalition for Healthy Neighborhoods

MACHN (Metro Atlanta Coalition for Healthy Neighborhoods) is a coalition made up of the American Heart Association, Retaaza, Wholesome Wave Georgia, Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority, and Lucky Shoals Community Association. We are an Alliance for Combined Action…A Coalition for Good; with a goal to collectively combine resources as well as health and wellness change agents across metro Atlanta to impact the whole person. This approach focuses on restoring health, promoting resilience, and preventing diseases across a lifespan.

Sources:

  1. CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/life_expectancy/life_expectancy.htm
  2. Atlanta Community Food Bank, Facts and Stats – Atlanta Community Food Bank (acfb.org)

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Last updated on July 26, 2023

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