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UPMC Pinnacle Launches Its Healthy Harrisburg Initiative to Address Chronic Illness

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – UPMC Pinnacle will launch Healthy Harrisburg, a new program for Harrisburg residents who are managing obesity, diabetes, and hypertension on July 11. The Healthy Harrisburg Initiative provides a series of events that will include fitness and exercise demonstrations, educational sessions, insurance enrollment, and healthy living mentorship. The first daylong session on July 11 has transitioned to a virtual event due to the pandemic.

“This initiative aims to improve community health and breakdown barriers to care identified in our 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment,” stated Tina Nixon, vice president of Mission Effectiveness and chief diversity officer, UPMC Pinnacle. “Key health indicators will be monitored throughout the course of the program to measure the initiative’s effectiveness in changing health behaviors and removing barriers to access to care.”

UPMC is seeking participants for the first of two, eight-week series for 2020. If you are 18 years or older, living in the city of Harrisburg, and currently managing or diagnosed with chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, and hypertension), please visit or call 717-231-8241 to learn more and to register.

Funded by the Pinnacle Health Foundation, the Healthy Harrisburg initiative is a partnership between UPMC Pinnacle and faith-based organizations, certified fitness instructors, regional organizations and businesses, and health experts across the UPMC system. Collaborating with the community through this initiative will enable the health system to help the underserved, uninsured population.

“Our Healthy Harrisburg initiative is specifically designed to engage, connect, and support individuals who are ready to take the steps necessary to better manage diabetes, hypertension, and obesity,” said Carlos Cream, MD, internal medicine, UPMC Pinnacle. “It’s equally important for UPMC to create creative ways to help connect and engage our community in healthier choices by removing the barriers that tend to plague the inner city and communities of color.”

The Community Health Needs Assessment (PDF) identified significant barriers to care and obesity rates that leads to a higher incidence of chronic illnesses. Residents in the City of Harrisburg and surrounding community (Dauphin County) face significant barriers to accessing care as a result of being uninsured or underinsured. This specific social determinant of health is one area we need to address to ensure the overall well-being of our community at large. With 28 percent or higher of residents categorized as obese, its far-reaching effects on overall health increases the likelihood of being afflicted with chronic diseases, as well as making management of chronic diseases more difficult.

“With the devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, now more than ever, we need to make sure those who are suffering from chronic disease have the resources they need to live a healthier life. Healthy Harrisburg offers those resources, and it is our hope that program participants will become active partners in their health care with their UPMC Pinnacle providers,” Nixon said.