Chattanoogans James and Mildred Moreland recently received the 2012 Partners and Leadership Award at the annual Tennessee Public Health Association Conference, which was held in Franklin.
The PAL Award is presented to a nonpublic health professional, group or organization that has made a significant contribution to public health, setting an example for others. The Morelands were chosen for their work with the Chattanooga East Side Task Force, now the East Chattanooga Neighborhood Improvement Program.
The Morelands have lived in East Chattanooga for more than 30 years. They helped form the Chattanooga East Side Task Force in 2005, which eventually gained a 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. The Morelands still lead the group in its efforts to bring attention to community issues such as law enforcement, economic development, housing, youth and health issues.
The committees of the task force are comprised of area businesses, agencies serving the community and government officials.
Mildred serves as the head of the Health Committee.
“As a retired nurse, I understood that the poor health outcomes experienced by residents were tied to the low educational attainment levels of children and family members, the declining economic state of the community, poor housing and crime,” Mildred said in a prepared statement.
The Chattanooga East Side Task Force received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2007 for the Weed and Seed Program, which is intended to help address youth gang violence. The group has also received grants to help address crucial health issues facing the community.
“When people see that they don’t have resources needed to better their neighborhood, they often have to identify other means that could benefit the community,” James said in a prepared statement.
In 2008, the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies identified East Chattanooga as one of nine subregions with the worst overall health outcomes. Memorial Hospital Catholic Charities Foundation provided the group with a $243,000 grant to help start exercise and weight loss programs at three recreation centers in the area.
The task force also received a $209,000 Violence Prevention Grant as well to help develop a Domestic Violence Resource Guide in both English and Spanish.
Other accomplishments owed to the Morelands include an annual health fair, a neighborhood beautification project, health checkups for the elderly and a community garden development.
The Chattanooga East Side Task Force evolved into the East Chattanooga Neighborhood Improvement Program in 2010. The program works with many Chattanooga organizations and associations to continue the initiatives started by the Morelands several years ago.