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Globally-Affiliated Fil-Am Foundation Leads Health Initiative for Community

San Francisco West Bay Multi-Service Corporation, a leading non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation, has received a $49,040 grant from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for its "Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Lives" project. The project aims to increase community awareness among Filipinos living in San Francisco about the causes of being overweight and obese, and to encourage community-led solutions to the problem, such as improved access to recreational facilities and access to high quality food.

Rudy Asercion, West Bay Executive Director and Convenor of Global Filipino Nation (GFN), made the announcement, saying that: "The grant will enable the FilAm community to be on equal footing with mainstream America in addressing an important systemic health issue". GFN is an international association of global Filipinos, their families and onshore Filipinos committed to good governance. GFN has an initiative that addresses the health issues facing Filipinos in the Homeland.

Aimee Afable-Munsuz, PhD, UCSF research specialist in clinical pharmacy brought the program to the attention of the UCSF University Community Partnership Council. She has for several years been volunteering with the West Bay on breast cancer prevention issues, She had taken interest in West Bay's commitment to change in health, community strengthening and youth development.

Afable-Munsuz explained: "Our grant proposal grew out of West Bay's strengths in effecting change in the community, and my research interest, which is behavioral change. I am interested in lifestyle choices; I look at factors of disease that focus on physical activity, diet, and substance abuse." Importantly, she added: "The broad goal of our project is to understand the causes of disease, particularly overweight and obesity at the neighborhood level -- access to healthy food and recreational facilities -- and to promote community-led solutions based on what we learn."

Among the initiatives the grant from UCSF will support is the purchase of cameras for West Bay children to give them the opportunity to document what they believe to be the causes within their community of being overweight and obese. The project "Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Lives" will use "photo-voice" and participatory video film-making to investigate the neighborhood level causes of overweight and obesity among Filipinos living in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The ultimate goal of the project is to increase the community's capacity to identify their own culturally appropriate solutions to the problems of overweight and obesity.

Sent by Grace Cabactulan

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