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UAB’s Grand Challenge promotes health and wellness throughout Alabama

mobile wellness van 450The Live HealthSmart Mobile Wellness van is focused on one goal: making good health, simple. With this mobile unit, Live HealthSmart Alabama is able to bring comprehensive health screenings — at no cost — to communities throughout Alabama.

The 2018-2023 strategic plan, Forging the Future, introduced the UAB Grand Challenge. It launched a call for proposals to solve a problem that is large, complex and multi-faceted — using a combination of technologies, treatments, approaches and/or policies — to improve life for a great number of people. 

The inaugural competition inspired 77 initial entries from teams across campus and the community. The winning project, announced in April 2019, was Healthy Alabama 2030: Live HealthSmart, led by principal investigator Mona Fouad, M.D., director of the UAB Minority Health and Health Equity Research Center.

Live HealthSmart Alabama, as it is now known, outlined a comprehensive plan for advocating and implementing changes to policy, systems and the built environment that promote health and wellness throughout Alabama. 

Since its launch, Live HealthSmart has partnered to transform neighborhoods by tackling policies, systems and infrastructure, from mobile stores to sidewalks to streetlights, that promote wellness, education and economic opportunities. More than 100 corporate and community partners now support these efforts in Kingston, Titusville, East Lake, Bush Hills and north Birmingham neighborhoods.

Live HealthSmart logoThe project initially received a three-year, $2.7 million award from the university's Strategic Investment Fund to elevate Alabama’s dismal position in national health rankings by fostering healthy eating, disease prevention, physical activity and education. 

Based on its success, the project has received additional funding for two years, beginning in 2023, for a total $5 million investment. The next step is to expand this model to other communities to make Alabama a model of healthy living.

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