Live HealthSmart Alabama expands into Demopolis

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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by Adam Pope

UAB Marketing and Communications

Live HealthSmart Alabama (LHSA), an initiative of the University of Alabama-Birmingham to improve the health of all Alabamians, is beginning to expand its programs and services into Selma and Demopolis, thanks in part to a recent $2.47 million gift from Novo Nordisk.

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Funding will support LHSA’s programs and services, including revitalization of the built environment, a new mobile wellness van and mobile market, which are much-needed resources that will be deployed in Demopolis, Selma, Camden and beyond.

“We thank Novo Nordisk for their remarkable $2.47 million gift to help propel our shared goals and Live HealthSmart Alabama’s mission of improving healthy living across our state,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “Public/private partnerships have been absolutely critical to the early successes of Live HealthSmart Alabama, and we are excited and eager to work with others who share our passion for making a difference in the lives of Alabamians as we expand the initiative to other areas of the state.”

Novo Nordisk — a global pharmaceutical company committed to improving the lives of people with chronic diseases like diabetes — is viewed as a key partner in helping LHSA improve the health of Alabamians.

“Investing in a healthier tomorrow, Novo Nordisk is proud to partner with UAB’s Live HealthSmart Alabama and its mission,” said Apu Patel, program manager with Novo Nordisk. “Together we are striding forward, fostering access to nourishing foods and securing spaces for physical activity in underserved communities. Our hope is to ease the burden of chronic disease and shape a future of vitality for all.”

The effort has been operating in 11 Birmingham communities since 2019 and has developed a playbook of evidence-based strategies to improve health outcomes, such as reducing chronic disease rates and improving access to healthy food. These strategies have been implemented in all 11 communities, and LHSA is seeing early positive results. In all these efforts, corporate partnership is vital, and LHSA’s goal could not be accomplished without a broad coalition of supporters and partners, like Novo Nordisk.

“These efforts can positively impact the incidence of chronic disease, supporting more Alabamians in achieving better health,” said Mona Fouad, M.D., chief executive officer of LHSA and director of the UAB Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center.

Organizers are committed to working with local partners to develop a plan that is specific to the local communities to make a significant impact on the health of Alabamians. Additionally, research is ongoing to support a food access and wellness event strategy.

“We are honored that so many have agreed to support the mission of LHSA,” said Teresa Shufflebarger, chief administrative officer of LHSA, which is facilitated by the UAB MHERC. “Making good health simple includes making healthy food choices accessible, encouraging more physical activity and providing free preventive health screenings.”