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YMCA to close health gaps in North Baton Rouge

by Kristen Hogan | Sep 28, 2020

YMCA Piloting Program to Close Health Gaps in North Baton Rouge

Participants to receive individual coaching, digital tools

Baton Rouge, La., September 28, 2020 – The YMCA of the Capital Area is piloting a program with 170 residents of North Baton Rouge to study to help bridge gaps in health. The pilot – which includes Y membership, individual coaching, and virtual tools – is funded by a $25,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation.

According to the data in Louisiana, COVID-19 is having the most extreme impact on low-income households and communities of color. While the pandemic has touched every community in our country and state, it has reinforced the striking socioeconomic and healthcare inequities in the U.S. that disproportionately impact African Americans, Latinx and Native Americans in addition to underserved communities.

This project will offer a three-month membership with access to one or more disease prevention or maintenance programs to 170 at-risk minority residents of North Baton Rouge. Membership provides a connection to a Healthy Living Coach who will create individualized plans for exercise and healthy eating, behaviors that can prevent disease and increase the quantity and quality of years of life.

Participants will have access to virtual workouts for maintaining social distancing, nutrition program and teaching kitchen experiences, blood pressure monitoring devices, workforce development resources, course materials, and programs via distance learning for high-risk individuals. The initiative will also launch and utilize the local Y mobile app to help users track goals, workouts, join challenges, and leverage technology to improve health outcomes.

“This project builds on extensive research by the YMCA of the USA in partnership with multiple agencies across the nation, including the CDC,” said Christian Engle, President and CEO, YMCA of the Capital Area. “That research overwhelmingly concludes that prevention, rather than disease treatment and management, is among the most effective tools to bridge health gaps. This project will put the tools of preventative wellness in the hands of more people, and we’re excited to see the results.”

“We are grateful to the YMCA for their work in advancing the health and wellness, and for bringing these tools we’ve seen work elsewhere to one place. We are hopeful to see if this level of intervention can be scaled to address needs across the state,” said Michael Tipton, President, Blue Cross Foundation.

For more information about the Y’s cause and to contribute, please contact Stacey Howell, V. P. of Financial Development, at, or visit




About the Y

Since 1917, the YMCA of the Capital Area has been serving the community with programs and services that meet the needs of the people through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Throughout our parish the Y engages over 8,000 individuals annually – regardless of income or background- in hopes to nurture the potential of children, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support our neighbors. The YMCA of the Capital Area is a 501(c)(3) organization with the long-standing relationship and physical presence not just to promise, but deliver, lasting personal and social change. Find out more by visiting    

About the Blue Cross Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianans by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together Blue Cross and Blue Cross Foundation invest $3.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits. Find out more by visiting





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