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National Eye Institute (NEI)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 7, 2003
CONTACT:
Michael Coogan or
Rosemary Janiszewski
(301) 496-5248

New Eye Health Awards Program Spurs Local Communities to Action
Communities Focus on Education and Outreach

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has announced the recipients of the first Healthy Vision 2010 Community Awards. These awards will provide funding for community-based eye health education and promotion programs that will bring sight-saving information and vision-related care to children, older adults, and multicultural populations.

The awards will provide funds to community-based organizations to support local efforts in raising awareness about eye health issues, including diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and early detection of eye disease in children. Through a variety of activities, awardees aim to combat vision loss in their communities by spotlighting the importance of blindness prevention and vision rehabilitation. All of these activities mirror vision objectives outlined in Healthy People 2010, the nation's health promotion and disease prevention framework.

NEI received 523 applications from organizations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and this year's group of awards will provide 32 organizations funding totaling more than $315,000. The Healthy Vision 2010 Community Awards are part of NEI's continuing efforts to encourage communities across the country to make vision care a routine part of overall health care and practices.

"Healthy People 2010 is a comprehensive plan to improve the health and well-being of all Americans," said Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). "Promoting eye health and vision care at the community level is a key component of this program. The Healthy Vision 2010 Community Awards program recognizes the commitment of local organizations to improve eye health and quality of life for the people they serve."

The Healthy Vision 2010 Community Awards program also helps community organizations nationwide develop and implement sound educational programs, according to NEI Director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D. "These educational programs extend the availability of vision services to those who need them most. We believe that by working together at the national and local levels, we can encourage individuals and communities to focus on preventive and rehabilitative care and make eye health a priority."

The Healthy Vision 2010 Community Awards program and Healthy People 2010 also support Healthier US, a comprehensive public health initiative recently launched by President Bush that is being implemented by the HHS.

Attached are profiles of this year's Healthy Vision 2010 Community Award recipients. For more information on Healthy Vision 2010, visit www.healthyvision2010.org.

NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NEI's research on eye diseases and disorders leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness.


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