Author Archive

Students, staff at Brushton-Moira CSD participate in wellness days

Posted on: May 15th, 2018 by Glenn

Staff and student wellness is a key component of creating healthier schools and communities.

In March 2018, Brushton-Moira Central School District hosted its second annual Staff Wellness Day and the first-ever Student Wellness Day, with support from the North Country Healthy Heart Network. The staff program follows up 2017’s successful event that earned high marks from teachers and faculty.

“The staff day was started as a means for boosting staff morale by supporting the teacher as a person first and not just an educator,” said Kat Haney, program coordinator for the Heart Network.

Nearly 175 staff members participated in a variety of activities, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, healthy cooking classes, and yoga and meditation.

“We hope to expand offerings next year to include sessions that focus on incorporating wellness into the classroom,” Haney said.

Student Wellness Day was spearheaded by two students who were inspired by the previous year’s staff day. The students polled their peers to find out their main areas of interest.

Activities for students included healthy snacks demos, a healthy relationships workshop, team building physical activities, and an internet safety presentation.

This annual event supports two components of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: staff involvement and physical activity during the day.

The Heart Network provided technical assistance in the planning and execution of the event. To learn more, contact Kat Haney at

Support, services available for smokers affected by proposed law

Posted on: May 14th, 2018 by Glenn

A current proposed local law that would raise the age for purchasing tobacco products in Essex County to 21 would have a real and immediate impact on individuals age 18-20 who are already smoking. If you or someone you know are among those who would be affected by this proposal, the North Country Health Heart Network wants you to know that there are programs and services to help you quit.

Last year, the Institute of Medicine estimated that raising the age to 21 would reduce the number of smokers nationwide by 12 percent. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 90 percent of smokers started before turning 19.

While the public health benefits of raising the purchase age are clear, it still has ramifications for those under 21 who already smoke. Should this law take effect, there are a number of local organizations and agencies in Essex County with staff dedicated to providing tobacco cessation counseling, including Adirondack Health, Essex County Mental Health, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Mental Health Association of Essex County, St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Services, and UVM Elizabethtown Community Hospital. The Heart Network encourages you to speak with your healthcare provider, who can refer you to the right program.

The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is another great resource for those who need help quitting: 1-866-NY-QUITS.

The residents of Essex County will have a chance to weigh in on the proposed legislation at a public hearing May 29 at the old County Courthouse in Elizabethtown.

Saranac Lake awarded Silver Level Walk Friendly Communities Designation

Posted on: May 14th, 2018 by Glenn

SARANAC LAKE — The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated Saranac Lake a silver level Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs. Sponsored by FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety.

Saranac Lake is designated as a Silver-level community due to the impressive levels of walking and excellent planning efforts. Highlights of Saranac Lake’s application include:

  • The steps the village has taken to implement theBicycle and Pedestrian Trail Plan, which included inventories, programs, priority projects, design guidance, and a plan for implementation. Their annual progress reports can serve as a model for other communities.
  • Complete Streets policy and new Development Code which was adopted in 2016 along with a program for implementation. The Development Code includes parking maximums, good parking location requirements, connectivity requirements, density bonuses and architectural design standards.
  • Clear, ongoing commitment to Safe Routes to School at Petrova Elementary. The village uses walk audits to teach students about pedestrian safety and the built environment while identifying opportunities to improve the area around the school. Petrova Elementary will be kicking off their fifth annual Walk & Bike to School Month on May 7.
  • An active Parks and Trails advisory board which serves as the mechanism by which pedestrians are considered in all projects and documents.

“We typically don’t see this level of commitment to walkability and pedestrian safety from a small village or town. Most of our silver-level communities are large cities, so we’re thrilled to showcase Saranac Lake as an example of a small community doing great things for pedestrians,” said Dan Gelinne, Program Manager, Walk Friendly Communities.  “Saranac Lake is using progressive plans and policies to support pedestrian-friendly changes to its streets, and we think other communities can learn a great deal from their approach to improving walkability.”

Saranac Lake is among 10 communities recognized in the latest round of Walk Friendly Communities announced. The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 71 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities.

For more information on Walk Friendly Communities, please visit

For more information on Saranac Lake’s award contact Jamie Konkoski at or 518-891-4150 x235.


Additional Resources:

Walk Friendly Communities Website

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Website

Federal Highway Administration Website


Posted on: January 21st, 2018 by Glenn

Taking the elevator is not the only choice at the Franklin County Courthouse and Franklin County DSS buildings in Malone. The Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant recently paid for a number of elevator clings (pictured) using positive messages to urge employees and visitors to ‘take the stairs’. Why take the stairs if the elevator is not “out of order?”

Saves Time – waiting for the elevator can take up valuable time, especially first thing in the morning, at lunch, and at the end of the workday.

Free Workout – No equipment needed, and you can do it anywhere there are stairs.

Healthy Heart/longer life – taking the stairs can relieve stress, and exercise in general can lower cholesterol, hypertension and help improve your overall health.  Stair walking builds muscles and strength – both important for a longer, healthier life.

Energy Saver – taking the stairs uses less electricity, and this is better for the environment.

These “take the stairs” messages are a great example of how employers and businesses can play a part in helping to improve a community’s health status.  Simple messages like these are advertisements for making healthy choices and they have been proven to lead to healthy behavior change.

Another project completed!

Posted on: December 10th, 2017 by Glenn

Congratulations to our partners in Hogansburg for another project completed! Their new walking trail/emergency escape route for the St. Regis Mohawk School, supported by the Heart Network’s Creating Health Schools and Communities grant, is part of a larger plan to create a more walkable, liveable and recreational community. This trail gives students a safe route to walk or bike from school to their community’s recreation area, Generations Park. What a great way to encourage more physical activity Hogansburg!

North Country Tobacco Treatment Network Presents Appreciation Award to Troy King, Alice Hyde Medical Center

Posted on: December 6th, 2017 by Glenn

Alice Hyde’s Angie Bashaw and Troy King at the Fall Gathering of the North Country Tobacco Treatment Network

On October 25, at their quarterly gathering, the North Country Tobacco Treatment Network presented their Appreciation Award to Troy King, RN, CTTS. Troy is RN Care Manager & Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Northern Adirondack Medical Home, University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Health Network. The presentation included remarks by Troy’s colleague Angela Bashaw, Director of Programs and Practice Support, Outpatient Medical Services, University of Vermont Health Network, Alice Hyde Medical Center. Angie remarked,

“The tobacco cessation work here at Alice Hyde Medical Center would not be what it is without a dedicated specialist like Troy. As a member of our Care Team, Troy’s work is an important part in helping us provide quality care to our patients. I can always count on Troy willingly accepting opportunities and providing ideas to help our providers manage their patients’ tobacco cessation attempts. We appreciate his team effort.”

As key members of Alice Hyde’s Tobacco Dependence Treatment Team, Troy and Angie have led system-level change to significantly increase providers’ consistent use of the evidence-based 5A tobacco intervention. With Angie’s leadership, Alice Hyde has incorporated the intervention into EHR screens, reports, and quality measures. Since 2015, the Heart Network has provided technical assistance to the team through the Health Systems for a Tobacco Free NY project, a grant funded by NYS DOH through a subcontract with Glens Falls Hospital.

In addition to Troy’s work with Alice Hyde, he is supporting Community Connections of Franklin County’s effort to start an ongoing tobacco cessation support group in Malone. Ann Morgan, NCHHN Executive Director, praised Troy’s contributions to that effort, stating “Troy brings a lot of knowledge and energy to the Community Connections project.  He is quick to offer ideas and assistance and will play a key role helping to connect tobacco users to the program.”

Troy also participates Alice Hyde’s new Wellness Committee, and helped lead Alice Hyde’s recent Great American Smokeout day.

Thank you Troy, for your dedication to the health of our communities!

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.