At the North Country Healthy Heart Network, a lot of our work boils down to three things, all of which coincidentally start with the letter “p”: patience, persistence, and passion. And we need all three to be successful.
We need patience because change, whether it’s an individual’s personal health choices or improving community-based systems, doesn’t happen overnight. We need persistence because there are so many things that demand our attention, and if we let up for even a day, we risk losing the valuable ground we’ve covered. And we need passion because if the people in our organization don’t care, how can we expect others to?
This year, that combination of patience, persistence, and passion resulted in a number of big successes for the Heart Network.
In Malone, our Creating Healthy Schools and Communities program worked across all sectors —governments, schools, businesses, and individuals — to generate a set of recommendations for healthy community design. Further north, in Hogansburg, our FNV (Fruit and Vegetables) campaign helped to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by individuals. Across the North Country, we’re making progress with a new coalition that will encourage health systems and communities to implement proven approaches that lower the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
And of course, we’re thrilled that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that increases the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. We’re also proud of lawmakers in Essex county for their leadership passing a T21 law in advance of New York State, and Clinton County leaders for seriously considering the same. While we did not engage in direct advocacy, we made sure our tobacco cessation partners were at those planning tables and are working diligently to make sure that those impacted by these new laws connect with resources to help them quit.
The team at the Heart Network is proud of what we’ve accomplished this year, but we won’t rest on our laurels; building foundations for healthier communities takes patience, persistence, and passion, and luckily we have plenty of all three.
— Ann Morgan, Executive Director, North Country Healthy Heart Network