The Tennessee Department of Health has several strategies in place to address the burden of preventable chronic disease on its citizens. Project Diabetes is one of these strategies whose purpose is to fund primary prevention projects that aim to prevent disease from ever occurring. Such prevention is implemented through the utilization of policy, systems, and environmental changes (PSE) within the communities of Tennessee. PSE approaches seek to go beyond interventions focused on individual behavior or one-time events to influence the systems that create the structures in which we work, live, and play. By changing policies, systems, and/or the environment, communities can tackle health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Being healthy is not just about individual choices. Approaches to PSE change help highlight how communities function, including how resources are allocated and how services are delivered, and the influence of those systems and structures on community health before the onset of illness.
The State funds projects that utilize one or more of the above strategies to achieve the overarching goals of the Project Diabetes Initiative. The State awarded competitive grants in two categories:
“Category A” grants - Applicants may apply for a grant of up to three (3) years with funds not to exceed $150,000 per year, for a maximum total of $450,000.
“Category B” grants – Applicants may apply for a grant for smaller, community-based projects of up to two years with funds not to exceed $15,000 per year, for a maximum total of $30,000.
Funding priorities for the grant cycle for 2022-2025 focus on two goals:
1) Creating equitable food and beverage environments that ensure that healthy food and beverage options are the routine, easy choice.
2) Making physical activity an integral and routine part of life for all Tennesseans.
After selecting goal(s), grantees address a strategy or strategies that they will take to achieve the selected goal.
Performance goal 1: Creating equitable food and beverage environments that ensure that healthy food and beverage options are the routine, easy choice.
Strategies for goal 1 include:
Strategy 1.1: Start or expand farm-to-institution programs in schools, hospitals, workplaces, childcare centers, and other institutions.
Strategy 1.2: Start or expand community-supported agriculture (CSA) where partnerships are established between farmers and consumers in which consumers purchase a share of a farm’s products in advance.
Strategy 1.3: Include fruit and vegetables in emergency food programs.
Strategy 1.4: Provide competitive pricing for healthy foods in school and municipal concessions.
Strategy 1.5: Enable farmers markets to accept EBT, the electronic payment system of debit cards used to issue and redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Strategy 1.6: Food hubs - Support businesses or organizations that aggregate, distribute, and market local and regional food products.
Strategy 1.7: Gleaning initiatives - Gather food left in fields after a primary harvest, food in fields where harvesting is not profitable, or excess produce from orchards, packing houses, urban agriculture sites, etc.
Strategy 1.8: Fruit and vegetable incentive programs - Offer participants with low incomes matching funds to purchase healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables; often called bonus dollars, market bucks, Double Up Food Bucks, or nutrition incentives.
Strategy 1.9: Food literacy skill development- School vegetable gardens and cooking classes in designated areas where students can garden with guidance, along with nutrition and food preparation lessons and opportunities for taste tasting and hands-on learning.
Strategy 1.10: Healthy food initiatives in food pantries, such as Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP).
Strategy 1.11: Water availability and promotion interventions - Make water readily available in various settings via regular placement of drinking fountains, water coolers, bottled water in vending machines, etc.
Strategy 1.12: College-based obesity prevention educational interventions - Support multi-component educational interventions for college students that address nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management.
Strategy 1.13: Breastfeeding promotion programs - Provide education, information, counseling, and support for breastfeeding to women throughout pre-and post-natal care.
Strategy 1.14: Workplace supports for breastfeeding - Support breastfeeding via private, well-equipped lactation spaces in workplaces, along with breastfeeding breaks, flexible schedules, professional lactation support, etc.
Performance goal 2: Making physical activity an integral and routine part of life for all Tennesseans.
Strategies for goal 2 include:
Strategy 2.1: Active recess - Establish a break from the school day, typically before lunch, that involves planned, inclusive, actively supervised games or activities; also called a semi-structured, or structured recess.
Strategy 2.2: College-based obesity prevention educational interventions - Support multi-component educational interventions for college students that address nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management.
Strategy 2.3: Activity program for older adults - Offer group educational, social, creative, musical, or physical activities that promote social interactions, regular attendance, and community involvement among older adults.
Strategy 2.4: Community fitness programs - Offer exercise classes (e.g., aerobic dance, yoga, Tai Chi, cycling, etc.) and fitness program support in community, senior, fitness, and community wellness centers.
Strategy 2.5: Bicycle path, lanes & tracks - Accommodate or provide dedicated space for bicyclists via bicycle paths, lanes, cycle tracks, or protected bike lanes, etc.
Strategy 2.6: Places for physical activity - Modify local environments to support physical activity, increase access to new or existing facilities for physical activity.
Strategy 2.7: Greenspace and parks - Increase recreational green space through new parks or open spaces, renovation or enhancement of under-used recreation areas, rehabilitation of vacant lots, brownfields, etc.
Strategy 2.8: Worksite obesity prevention interventions - interventions are evidence-based multi-component efforts that combine education, environmental change, physical activity opportunities, and incentives for healthy behavior.
Organizations funded in Category A for 2022-2025 are listed below:
Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council- Serving Green, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties.
Implementation of the Build It Up beginner gardening program, Farmacy Fit farmers market incentive program, and Double Up Food Bucks for SNAP customers.
Big Hill Pond State Park- McNairy County
Construction of a paved ADA-compliant Storybook trail.
Chattanooga Food Center- Hamilton County
Implementation of a Double Up Food Bucks program, school cooking classes, and a family walking club program. Includes a Double Up Food Bucks and local food resources outreach campaign.
City of Memphis Parks & Neighborhoods- Shelby County
Facilitation of group fitness programming at more than thirty community/senior centers in Memphis.
City of South Pittsburg- Marion County
Upgrades to a local park to include improvements for recreational basketball, baseball, and an ADA-accessible play structure.
Crockett County Board of Education
Improvements to space adjoining the middle and high schools to include a walking track, basketball courts, a pavilion, a water bottle refill station, and a climbing tower.
Healthy Parks Healthy Person-Statewide program
Pilot and expand the Healthy PaRx portal, which enables medical providers to prescribe physical activity via the Healthy Parks Healthy Person App. Establish partnerships with at least three employers to promote app usage through worksite wellness programming.
Houston County Government
Renovate a building to create a community center. Construct outdoor learning and recreational space for gardening, basketball, pickle ball, and tai chi.
Knox County Health Department
Increasing access to improved nutrition and physical activity via multi-component interventions via gleaning initiatives, food literacy skill development in schools/college, healthy food initiatives in community food pantries, water promotion, college-based obesity prevention, breastfeeding promotion, and support for workplace breastfeeding.
Maury County Schools
Remodel the home economics classroom at Mt. Pleasant High School. Introduce a Farm to School program with cooking classes, a greenhouse, and gardens.
Middle Tennessee State University- Rutherford County
Supporting student wellness through multiple strategies: installation of water bottle refill stations with a complementary educational campaign; cooking classes, health coaching, and a multi-platform social media campaign.
Morgan County Schools
Improvements to the walking track at Oakdale School. Build three walking tracks in Sunbright and Wartburg. Water bottle refill stations installed at each school with a complementary educational campaign.
Mountain Goat Trail Alliance- Grundy County
Expand the Mountain Goat Trail by 1.5 miles. Support physical activity via elementary school run and bike clubs with related programming/events.
Murfreesboro City Schools- Rutherford County
Resurfacing tennis courts at five elementary schools to create multi-purpose recreational courts.
Nashville Farmers Market- Davidson County
Campaign and programming to expand a Fresh Bucks nutrition incentive program for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program customers.
Nourish Knoxville, Inc- Serving Anderson, Bledsoe, Greene, Knox, Rhea, Union, Unicoi, and Washington counties.
Expand EBT payment access and Double Up Food Bucks at participating farmers markets. Facilitate Nourish Moves and Nourish Kids programs at participating farmers markets.
Rural Resources, Inc.- Greene County
Connecting youth and families with Power of Produce programming in schools and Children's Farmers Market onsite at a local farm. A half-mile walking trail will be built to increase access to physical activity.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee- Serving Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties.
Include fruit and vegetables in emergency food programs. Provide outreach for food literacy skill development.
The Works, Inc.- Shelby County
Construct the next phases of Renaissance Park in Memphis to emphasize amenities for physical activity, including exercise equipment and play space as well as improved lighting and beautification.
Town of Decatur- Meigs County
Construct a new community playground with shade structures and resurface the playground's walking track. Resurface another larger community walking track.
Town of Erwin- Unicoi County
Resurface two tennis courts for tennis, pickleball, and a 2-bounce program, adding ADA sidewalks, lighting, and seating/bleachers.
Organizations funded in Category B for 2022-2024 are listed below:
Church Health Center of Memphis, Inc.- Shelby County
Expand a community meal prep program to provide more nutritionally sound, Mediterranean diet-based meals to food insecure and underserved individuals in Shelby County.
Cocke County Health Department
Construct a community garden with raised garden beds and gravel walkways.
Methodist Le Bonheur Community Outreach- Shelby County
Establish a centrally located breastfeeding clinic and monthly support group to build client peer support, knowledge, and advocacy for breastfeeding within the African American community.
For more information on Project Diabetes, please contact:
Joan Cook, MS, RD Nutritionist IV
Kristina Giard-Bradford, BSW, MAEd, Program Director II
Click here to view videos highlighting past greenway work done in Manchester, Tennessee.