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The National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality Receives $3.25 Million Grant From Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Fight Childhood Obesity

Efforts to Focus on Identifying, Training and Supporting Clinicians to Become Effective Advocates for Community Change

BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwire) -- 06/16/09 -- The National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) today announced it has been awarded a $3.25 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic trend across the nation by training, supporting and providing technical assistance to healthcare professionals in becoming advocates for change within their communities.

As part of the grant, NICHQ will partner with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the California Medical Association Foundation (CMA-F) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity (CPCO) to facilitate healthcare professionals becoming community advocates for local change, and to build an online network serving as the "go to resource" for healthcare providers looking for solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic.

"We are pleased to support NICHQ in its effort to help clinicians become advocates for policy and environmental changes that will help us reverse the childhood obesity epidemic," remarked Dwayne Proctor, director of the RWJF Childhood Obesity Team. "Health is not just something that happens in the doctor's office. It happens in the places where all of us live, learn, work and play, and NICHQ's work will advance efforts to make all of these settings healthier."

The prevention, screening and treatment of childhood obesity is at the top of NICHQ's Agenda for Improvement. The rise in the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents is one of the most alarming public health issues facing the world today. Over the past three decades, the prevalence of childhood obesity in the US has more than tripled. Children in low socioeconomic status families and children in the country's southern region tend to have higher rates of obesity than that of the general population. The current increase is especially evident among African-American, Hispanic, and American Indian populations.

"As a leader in the children's healthcare quality movement in the US, we are committed to tackling this complex issue," said Dr. Charles Homer, president and chief executive officer of NICHQ. "We look forward to working closely with the AAP and CMA-F, as well as with RWJF, to expand our efforts and make significant changes at the community level so that childhood obesity is no longer an epidemic threatening our children's current and future health and welfare."

NICHQ has long been a leader in the fight against childhood obesity. Since 2003, NICHQ staff and faculty worked directly with practices and programs to facilitate the engagement of clinicians in community change and improve clinical practice in Maine, New Mexico, Delaware, New York, Washington and Massachusetts. In 2007, NICHQ launched the Childhood Obesity Action Network (COAN) to link clinicians and policy makers together, provide tools and materials for clinical and policy change, and promote innovation through social networking.

"Childhood overweight and obesity lead to serious health problems," said David Tayloe MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics. He continued, "This program will help us empower pediatricians and families to take action in their homes, offices and communities to prevent childhood obesity and improve the health status of children."

"The CMA Foundation is honored to work with NICHQ, RWJF, AAP, and CPCO to use this grassroots approach to bring healthcare providers out of the office where the focus is on treating disease and into the community in a public health role, with a focus on prevention," said Dexter Louie MD, chair, CMA Foundation board of directors and physician champion.


Founded in 1999, the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) is an action-oriented organization dedicated to achieving a world in which all children receive the healthcare they need. Led by experienced pediatric healthcare professionals, NICHQ's mission is to improve children's health by improving the systems responsible for the delivery of children's healthcare. For more information, visit www.nichq.org.

About the American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

About the CMA Foundation

The CMA Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves as a link between physicians and their communities. The Foundation improves individual and community health through a partnership of leaders in medicine, related health professionals and the community. The CMA Foundation has developed a cutting edge Physician Champion program that can serve as a template for national programs. This innovative approach to obesity prevention has been cited as a "best practice" in the 2006 Institute of Medicine Preventing Childhood Obesity report. For more information about the CMA Foundation, visit www.thecmafoundation.org.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and healthcare of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

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Erika McCarthy
Director of Marketing and Communications
National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality
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