Charleston leaders working to eliminate health disparities

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CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD) – The City of Charleston is looking to bridge the health gap between different communities through a grant provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New data revealed what Susan Johns, chair of the city’s Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, called a “significant difference in life expectancy depending on what zip code you live in.”

A study on health disparities found that people in communities such as Mount Pleasant and Folly Beach live an average of 10 years longer than people in communities like North Charleston and Johns Island.

Now, leaders have applied for the CDC grant, which is awarded to just 20 cities, as part of the effort to close the gap.

“Nothing impacts the quality of life in Charleston more than the health and wellness of our citizens,” said Mayor John Tecklenburg.

The grant would help fund multiple projects, as well as identify additional areas of need:

“If we look at the causes of death — maybe it’s diabetes and chronic diseases — we can look at interventions that would address those. Or maybe its gun violence, and we can address that. It’s really important to have members of those communities be engaged in this progress so they can tell us firsthand what the challenges are.”

Susan Johns

If the grant is approved, projects could begin as soon as September. There will be a 12 month planning period before changes are put into place.

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