Grant Enhances Chronic Disease Prevention Services

A grant from the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) is bolstering chronic disease prevention across northern New York.

Awarded earlier this year to the Get Healthy North Country Community Integrated Health Network, the grant will help increase capacity for ongoing delivery of evidence-based chronic disease prevention services and reduce the prevalence of diabetes in the North Country by increasing access to programs for at-risk populations.

“Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death, disability and skyrocketing healthcare costs nationwide and here in the North Country, yet these conditions are largely preventable,” said Ann Morgan, executive director of The Heart Network, a Saranac Lake-based organization that facilitates the Get Healthy North Country Community Integrated Health Network. “Early detection, coordinated intervention and management of symptoms can reduce costs and improve one’s odds of staying well and feeling good. The HRSA grant will help our network build upon the excellent services its members provide to people with chronic conditions — our goal is to improve access, expand capacity, enhance outcomes and increase sustainability.”

The Get Healthy North Country Community Integrated Health Network is a coalition of medical and behavioral healthcare providers, public health units, area offices of aging, social care agencies and other chronic disease prevention program stakeholders that collaborate to offer coordinated and comprehensive evidence-based products and services designed to reduce the burden of chronic disease. The network includes over 20 member organizations working across nine counties in northern New York.

Programs and services offered by these organizations include diabetes and chronic disease self-management workshops, health and wellness coaching and leadership training for network members. The HRSA grant will help the network increase enrollment in these programs, with a focus on individuals from disparate backgrounds. The funding will also allow the network to increase the number of programs available, reducing waitlists for those looking to participate.

Another goal of the network is to increase awareness of chronic disease and diabetes self-management programming among organizations that pay for healthcare, boosting revenue for the organizations offering such services.

“Ultimately, we aim to decrease the prevalence of chronic disease in our region,” Morgan said. “This is proactive work that has major potential ramifications for the physical, social and economic health of our communities. We know these programs work and change lives for the better.”

Among the overarching services offered by the Community Integrated Health Network is Get Healthy North Country, a website that provides a one-stop shop to connect individuals with chronic disease self-management programs. The website — gethealthynoco.org — makes it easy for people to enroll in local workshops and wellness programs to help with diabetes and other chronic conditions, pain management, nicotine addiction, high blood pressure and more. These services are grant-funded and offered at no cost to participants, and include both digital and in-person options.

To learn more about the Community Integrated Health Network, contact Ann Morgan at amorgan@heartnetwork.org.

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