Montana State University

Montana Rural Health Initiative launches grant program to improve health and wellness

February 4, 2010 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
A new program focused on improving health and wellness in rural communities while reducing obesity and related diseases has been launched. Known as the Incubator, the mini-grant and resource assistance program is currently supporting projects in several Montana communities including Hardin, Thompson Falls and Scobey.

Examples of some projects the Incubator has supported include a bike safety, education and wellness information program for children in Belgrade, and a program to help reduce childhood hunger in Thompson Falls by sending nutritious food home with children over weekends and holiday breaks.

Other Montana communities interested in applying for help through the Incubator may do so later this month.

The Montana Rural Health Initiative, a collaborative group managed by the Montana Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Center at Montana State University, oversees the Incubator. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Foundation for Healthy Montanans, the Schering-Plough Corporation, and the Montana HealthCare Forum have financially supported the program, according to Shalina Mirza with the Montana Rural Health Initiative.

The Montana Rural Health Initiative is committed to engaging multiple partners and creating a dynamic network that links community-based health, wellness and prevention initiatives throughout the state, Mirza said.

For more information, visit

Shalina Mirza, (406) 994-5310 or