July 13, 2024

SARANAC LAKE — The Get Healthy North Country Community Integrated Health Network expands in the region.

It is a network 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, comprehensive evidence-based products and services designed to reduce the burden of chronic disease, according to a press release.

A key aspect of the coalition’s work is developing capacity in communities to help individuals take control of their health.

“When a person is looking to address something as complex and challenging as a chronic health condition, a tried and true approach is to learn from their peers,” Anne-Marie Snell, executive director of The Health Initiative, which facilitates Get Healthy North Country along with The Heart Network, said.

“Our newest cohort of peer leaders will work with organizations and individuals across the North Country to lower the prevalence of chronic disease in our communities. These are people who live in our communities and help others understand how to recognize the signs and symptoms often associated with chronic conditions.”

A total of 16 new peer leaders are now placed with eight regional organizations, including Clinton County Office for the Aging, Essex County Prevention Team, Oswego County Health Department, St. Lawrence Health System, Warren County Offices for the Aging, JCEO, The Heart Network, and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center.

This cohort includes Karoline Kelly, Meredith LaPoint, Stephanie Richards, Shannon Rock, Kristin Wheatley, Susan Barber, Ronwyn Kneller, Joi Larucci, Julie M. Stalker, Dan Sweet, Mary Anny McCarthy, Sarah Cotton, Maxwell Sunday, Amelia DeMento, Autumn Thompson and Lori Messing.

“We already had two peer leaders and we trained four more of our staff to be peer leaders,” Darleen Collins, director of the Clinton County Office for the Aging, said.

“We trained four more this time to have flexibility to be able to offer workshops throughout the year. We do it year round, so this way it gives us a chance to be able to offer more workshops in Clinton County. It’s a really great evidence-based wellness program.”

“Peer leaders work to empower individuals to take control of their health and lead fuller lives,” Ann Morgan, The Heart Network’s executive director, said.

“This dynamic group of individuals has hit the ground running: they’re already working with Get Healthy North Country to plan and implement chronic disease self-management programs across northern New York.”

Get Healthy North Country’s website — gethealthynoco.org — offers an array of in-person, virtual and telephonic workshops tailored for people living with chronic conditions, including diabetes, cancer, pain and more. Each program aims to provide participants with the tools and strategies to get and stay healthy. All workshops are grant-funded and offered at no cost to the individual. To learn more, visit gethealthynoco.org.

To learn more about the Get Healthy North Country Community Integrated Health Network, contact Ann Morgan at [email protected] or Anne Marie Snell at [email protected].

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