amphitheater, city of tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa beat out more than 170 other cities to take part in a new initiative aimed at helping low-income communities thrive.

The Invest Health initiative strives to transform how leaders from mid-sized U.S. cities work together to support initiatives that drive better community health, such as access to safe, affordable housing, play areas for children and exercise locations for adults, and quality jobs and programs that encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Tuscaloosa was chosen for the program by Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Tuscaloosa’s five-member team includes Whatley Health Services CEO Deborah Tucker, Tuscaloosa Director of Federal Programs LaParry Howell, Tuscaloosa Home Builders Association Executive Director Ron Parrish, Community Service Programs of West Alabama Executive Director Cynthia Burton, and retired pediatrician Dr. Jerry Palmer.

Whatley Health Services is serving as the initiative’s anchor institution.

“The intent here is to develop a healthier community through a number of different projects, hence the name Invest Health,” Tucker said. “We’ll be investing in the health of the community.”

The team will receive a $60,000 grant, and has access to advisers and coaches over the next 18 months who will guide efforts toward improving communities’ health. Findings will be compiled on the project’s website, investhealth.org.

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