VCU health education and wellness center coming to Richmond’s East End

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health are teaming up to build a new health education and wellness center in Richmond’s East End.

The center will be located at the intersection of Nine Mile Road and 25th Street.

This will be part of a larger redevelopment initiative that will also feature a grocery store, apartments and a culinary institute operated by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, all funded by local businessman and philanthropist Steve Markel.

“This entire project is about building a healthy community,” Markel said. “It’s an opportunity to bring many community partners together to create opportunities, resources and healthy options for the residents.”

The project will provide new resources in an area considered as a “food desert” and where a large portion of the residents live in poverty.

Specifically, the center is set to provide assessments and screenings, nutrition outreach, behavioral health support, chronic disease prevention and management, health education, care coordination, referrals to community providers and organizations, and research and evaluation.

VCU says most of the services will be free and provided by interdisciplinary teams of VCU faculty and students.

“This initiative presents us with an opportunity to collaborate with the community in a new way,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health System. “It is through our collective action that we can — along with our partners in the community — help create long-term, sustainable solutions to difficult social problems. Working together, our goal is to create a sustainable presence in the East End that addresses the community’s needs and demonstrates the collective commitment of VCU and VCU Health to the neighborhood.”

The health and wellness center is slated to open in late 2018.

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