GHSU awards grants while suffering from budget cuts - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

GHSU awards grants while suffering from budget cuts

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Wiping tears from her eyes, Helen Blocker-Adams is overwhelmed after receiving a grant from Georgia Health Sciences University to help educate children about nutrition and fitness.

"I'm so happy that we got it," Blocker-Adams said. "I can't wait to start making an impact in this community."

Blocker-Adams' community development company is one of seven organizations to receive $300,000 in grants; money coming from university and state funding. The grants were given just days after GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz announced budgetary issues for GHSU and its health system.

The school is facing a three percent cut in state funding and expecting another two percent in reductions. In an email sent to employees this week, Dr. Azziz said six people will lose their jobs and 20 vacant positions will be eliminated.

"Budgetary reductions are always something we have to examine as the state uses its resource," Dr. Azziz said. "We have to understand that these are affecting less than one percent of the whole university."

Thursday morning Dr. Azziz focused on impacting a larger percent of the community by joining GHSU's Institute of Public and Preventative Health. The grants will be used to improve the health in the Augusta region and the state of Georgia.

"Our investment in many areas of the community continues to grow," Dr. Azziz said. "So we have to understand that our job as leaders is to balance those initiatives.

One initiative: Blocker-Adams' program to encourage Pine Hills Middle School students lead healthier lifestyles.

"In Georgia we have so many strikes against us. Why? I don't know," Blocker-Adams said. "But this research will not only help to deal with that, but make improvement to it. And I'm just so excited to be a part of that process."

Each grant totaled up to $50,000.

Grant Recipients:

Harrisburg Family and Health Care and Mercy Ministries

Burke County Cooperative Extension: "Girls on the Run"

CSRA Asthma Coalition and Richmond County Board of Education

The HBA Group, Intl.

Columbia County Community Connections

Belle Terrace Health and Wellness Center and Serenity Behavioral Health Systems

Costa Layman Farms

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