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Heart Network Presents at BOCES Training

Posted on: November 10th, 2017 by Glenn

On October 20th, over 30 teachers from the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES system gathered at the North Franklin Educational Center for a school wellness training featuring presentations by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the North Country Healthy Heart Network. The day-long event focused on improving nutritional and physical activity opportunities.

Sean Brock of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation opened the day with a session entitled “So What About CSPAP?” or Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. Participants learned about strategies for improving physical activity opportunities and shared some of the unique activities that are happening in their schools. The goal, according to Brock, is to utilize five different areas of physical activity in order to produce a recommended 60 minutes of movement per day. Brock had previously delivered a training with Malone Elementary teachers during an October 2016 staff development day. The 2017 session expanded on that material and reached an entirely new audience.

Kat Haney, North Country Healthy Heart Network School Coordinator, delivered the afternoon session called “Make the Grade with Wellness Policy.” This workshop utilized visual aids to present the Final Rules for Wellness Policies which are required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be implemented starting this school year. The interactive session not only presented the material, but also introduced ideas on how the rules can be put into practice and achieve results.

North Country Tobacco Treatment Network Appreciation Award

Posted on: September 30th, 2017 by Glenn

(left to right): Stefanie Miller, Heart Network; Dana Isabella, Tobacco-Free Clinton Franklin Essex/ATFC; Elise Rock, RN, CVPH; Dana Isabella – Program Director, Tobacco-Free Clinton Franklin Essex

Dana Isabella, Program Director, Tobacco-Free Clinton Franklin Essex (our ATFC partner) was recently recognized by the North Country Tobacco Treatment Network for her work toward tobacco cessation. Elise Rock, RN at CVPH, nominated Dana for the Appreciation Award, describing her as, “High energy, motivational, expert, confident, friendly, and competent.”

“I see Dana as a  super strong leader who has an immeasurable level of commitment to doing whatever it takes to push our society closer and closer to becoming tobacco free. Her knowledge and expertise is admirable and motivational.  She cares deeply about our youth and community as a whole. Dana is seemingly involved wherever the word tobacco is spoken with wholehearted effort and determination.”

Congratulations Dana! Do you know a North Country tobacco treatment advocate or partner who has made strides, big or small, to overcome barriers to tobacco treatment access? Submit an Appreciation Award nomination here.

Two More School Districts Achieve USDA Compliance

Posted on: August 7th, 2017 by Glenn

The Northern Franklin County school districts of Salmon River and Malone have been added to the list of those with compliant local wellness policies. Looking ahead, implementation of each of the new components of these policies will take place over the upcoming academic year.

Last summer brought about the announcement of the United States Department of Agriculture final rules for wellness policies. Schools all over the country found themselves scrambling to meet the June 30, 2017 deadline for compliance. Luckily, through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities partnership, North Country Healthy Heart Network …

The Heart Network spearheaded the project by recruiting champions, providing recommendations for policy improvement and suggesting current best practices. Additionally, the Heart Network gathered input from school community members about wellness climate and drafted policy revisions. Administrators and Board members in all of the districts expressed their appreciation for the Heart Network’s assistance: assistance offered at a time when increased demands are continuing to be placed on schools.


Adirondack Health and North Country Healthy Heart Network Announce Tobacco Treatment Partnership

Posted on: August 4th, 2017 by Glenn

Healthcare leaders and providers know: There’s nothing healthy about tobacco addiction

Tobacco Treatment partners from left to right: Sylvia Getman, President and CEO, Adirondack Health; Dr. Darci Beiras, Interim Chief Medical Officer, Adirondack Health; Ann Morgan, Executive Director, North Country Healthy Heart Network; Linda Savarie, Adirondack Health Decker Community Learning Center; Dana Kellerman, VP Support Services & Chief Human Resources Officer, Adirondack Health

SARANAC LAKE, NY, August 4, 2017 — Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in New York state. A new partnership between the North Country Healthy Heart Network and Adirondack Health looks to change that.

An outgrowth of the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free NY initiative, the partnership ensures that at every visit, providers will offer patients help to quit tobacco addiction. Studies show that by providing counseling and medication to tobacco-using patients, health outcomes improve and healthcare expenses are reduced. In fact, patients who work with their healthcare provider to quit using tobacco are two to three times more likely to succeed.

“Tobacco addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease,” said Sylvia Getman, President and CEO, Adirondack Health. “Patients value the advice and direction their providers give them, so including a discussion and screening for tobacco use at each visit could be just the impetus they need.”

Health systems across New York state are pursuing the Triple Aim of improving population health, enhancing the quality of patient care, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare. According to the NYS Department of Health, tobacco use kills more than 28,000 New Yorkers every year, and afflicts more than 500,000 New Yorkers with serious diseases directly attributable to tobacco use. Treating tobacco dependence with evidence-based practice can have a positive impact on other chronic conditions as well, including diabetes, hypertension and COPD.

“Integration of tobacco dependence treatment makes fiscal sense for individual health systems like Adirondack Health and for the state of New York,” said Ann Morgan, North Country Healthy Heart Network’s Executive Director. “And, it improves patient satisfaction, since 70 percent of smokers want to quit.”

Tobacco-related illness costs the state more than $10.4 billion in medical expenses annually, including $3.3 billion in Medicaid costs. Tobacco use treatment is a low-cost intervention aligned with the shift to value-based care, and can cut costs borne by counties.

Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York is a network of professionals who provide resources to help health facilities and behavior health organizations across the state deliver more consistent, effective, evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment to patients and clients.

To learn more about tobacco treatment at Adirondack Health, call Linda Savarie in Adirondack Health’s Decker Community Learning Center at 518-897-2274.

North Country Healthy Heart Network subcontracts with Glens Falls Hospital to implement the NYS Department of Health’s Health Systems for Tobacco Free NY grant in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties. Founded in 2000, the Heart Network’s mission is to design, develop and implement strategies to decrease the incidence of cardiac disease, stroke, and related chronic disease in Northern New York State. All activities are aimed at reducing tobacco use and increasing physical activity and nutrition – the top 3 preventable causes of chronic disease that often disproportionately impact people living in rural communities.To learn more about the North Country Healthy Heart Network, visit


Related Links:
Adirondack Health
North Country Healthy Heart Network
Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free NY
1 minute video: About Health Systems For Tobacco-Free 
NY for Medical Organizations

Malone Complete Streets Board Wins Healthy Place Maker Award

Posted on: July 25th, 2017 by Glenn

Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board Chair, Boyce Sherwin (center), accepts North Country Healthy Heart Network’s Healthy Place Maker Award. Also pictured (l-r) are Ann Morgan (Heart Network Executive Director), Jamie Konkoski (Heart Network Program Manager), Susan Patterson (Heart Network Board Chair), and Katie Strack (incoming Heart Network Board Member and Franklin County Public Health Director).

The North Country Healthy Heart Network has selected the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board to receive the new Healthy Place Maker Award. The Heart Network award is presented to an individual or organization that has taken substantial action to institutionalize a health promoting resource or practice and demonstrated commitment and ability to develop and grow independent of Heart Network technical support. Heart Network Board Chair Sue Patterson presented the award, which included a plaque and cash prize, at the July meeting of the Complete Streets Board.

“The Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board is a shining example of what the Heart Network aims to do; it builds foundations for healthy communities, and in this case – the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board is the foundation from which many new health promoting opportunities now emerge,” said Patterson.

At the presentation, Jamie Konkoski, Heart Network Program Manager, shared a brief history of the group’s development.
The complete streets project in Malone began in 2010 when interested citizens attended a training hosted by the Heart Network and Franklin County Public Health Department. From that training a group calling themselves the Malone Complete Streets Partnership formed with the goal of creating a plan to make Malone streets more walkable. Heart Network staff trained these volunteers to assess existing conditions for walking and then used the information gathered to help draft a Malone Complete Streets Plan.

The plan outlined a variety of projects and programs that would make Malone streets more pedestrian friendly. The Partnership presented the plan to the Village and Town of Malone and in 2014 it was adopted. The group was officially established as the Malone Complete Streets Advisory Board and charged with overseeing implementation of the plan.

Heart Network staff continued working closely with the Advisory Board helping to build the expertise and financial capacity needed to implement the plan. Using the Complete Streets Plan, Heart Network staff were able to secure a number of small and large grants to support their infrastructure projects. The Heart Network also continued providing members of the Advisory Board with Complete Streets training and education opportunities.

Over the years, the need for Heart Network assistance decreased as members of the Advisory Board became their own local experts on making Malone more walkable. They have hosted educational forums, worked with developers to make sure sidewalks are included in new commercial construction projects, and encouraged more walking and biking through the Explore Malone Walk/Bike Challenge. The groups’ crowning achievement was the recent award of a $1.35 million grant for construction of sidewalks. Members of the Complete Streets Advisory Board, without any assistance from the Heart Network, wrote the grant application.

Konkoski explained that “the Advisory Board’s pursuit and receipt of these new grants, without any technical support from the Heart Network, are evidence that this group has truly achieved sustainability. We couldn’t be more proud to recognize their accomplishments by making them the first recipient of a Heart Network Healthy Place Maker Award.”

Making Our Case for Cessation – New Video Speaks to Health Care Leaders

Posted on: July 9th, 2017 by Glenn

Our Health Systems for Tobacco Free New York (HSTFNY) program is always seeking new ways to engage and recruit leaders of medical and behavioral health systems across the North Country. We need them to know that our free services will help them improve evidence-based tobacco interventions. A unique digital mailer was developed and sent by NY Department of Health – Tobacco Control Program (TCP) to leaders of target health systems across the state; delivering this message directly into the hands of their CEOs. When opened, the unique digital card automatically plays a strategically crafted one minute video. The video message speaks to these leaders’ point of view, prompting them to contact HSTFNY to access our services.

And it works! We brought along a digital card to a June meeting with Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s CEO John Remillard and CNO Julie Tromblee. We were joined by our ATFC partner and had about 15 minutes to make the case for signing onto HSTFNY; showing the brief videos on the spot saved considerable time. We are proud to report that we will begin working with ECH in July. Because we engaged the highest levels of administration, we have considerable buy-in for the initiative.

Click HERE to see the one minute video.

Another Successful SR2S Month and New Funding Announcement

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by Glenn

The month of May marked the fourth year of Safe Routes to School (SR2S) education and encouragement events in Franklin County.  This year, Davis, St. Joseph’s, and Flanders Elementary Schools in Malone as well as Petrova Elementary in Saranac Lake participated in a month-long Walk and Bike to School Challenge. Students who participated were entered in raffles for prizes such as bike lights, water bottles and bike bells to aid their commute to school. Petrova hosted a weekly walking school bus every Wednesday in May that departed from the center of downtown and made its way up LaPan Highway to the school. Despite the absence of two grade levels at the school, the school saw 30-40 participants in the event each week. St. Joseph’s also led a school-wide walk on a sunny Friday morning with SRTS mascot Walker the SR2S Chicken.

The Heart Network has been a member of a multi-organization partnership that has coordinated and supported these events with funding from a SRTS grant awarded to Franklin County.  While that grant has expired, we are pleased to announce that the Heart Network has a new grant that will allow us to continue to support SRTS education and encouragement initiatives in Franklin County schools.  The Charles R. Wood Foundation has awarded funding for bike helmets, education materials and props that will be used for demonstrations and bike safety practice.  Education efforts will target students in third and fourth grades.  Our goal is to provide students with the information and resources to be able to bike safely and independently.  We will continue to work with local partners to offer bike rodeos, walk and bike to school encouragement campaigns, and education programs at both summer youth programs and at schools during Walk and Bike to School Month in May.

The mission of the Charles R. Wood Foundation is to provide assistance to not-for-profit organizations with an emphasis on programs for children, healthcare and the arts.  The Heart Network is grateful for their support and excited to continue to build a Safe Routes to School movement in the North Country.

Apple Corps Alive and Well!

Posted on: June 7th, 2017 by Glenn

Former Heart Network Executive Director Margot Gold (left) checks on her apple tree.

The two apple trees planted in honor Margot Gold’s retirement from North Country Healthy Heart Network last spring survived their first winter and continue to be well cared for by Saranac Lake Common Ground Gardens (SLCGG).  At a Spring Work Party on May 20th, Common Ground Gardens Coordinator Andrea Audi (pictured here in white) planted chive and borage seeds at the base of both trees, explaining that they are healthy, complimentary companions for apple trees.  The trees were then surrounded by fencing to protect them from neighborhood deer.

While at the Heart Network, Margot (center picture – left) hoped to one day launch a project she called Apple Corps.  Her vision was to have organizations around the region agree to plant and care for apple trees – the fruits of which would then be shared with residents having limited access to fresh produce. Thanks to the Heart Network’s Board of Directors and the SLCGG, Margot’s dream is coming alive.  Perhaps next year … apples!