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Ellenville Regional Rural Health Network promotes cardiac wellness

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death and disability in the United States, with stark racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities widespread among the most at-risk communities. In 2019, Ellenville Regional Hospital’s collaborative Rural Health Network wellness program began an initiative to reduce the disparate rate of CVD and other chronic health conditions in the community of Wawarsing.

Leveraging an evidence-based community health worker model, Ellenville Regional Rural Health Network created a wellness program that addresses the New York State Prevention Agenda priority area, preventing chronic diseases. The goal of the program is to ensure that every community member in the medically underserved Wawarsing community at risk of developing CVD has access to a community health worker at no cost. The CHWs help these at-risk individuals navigate the existing health services in Wawarsing, as well as overcome the social determinants of health barriers that restrict their ability to lead healthy lives. This is done through one-on-one work between the CHW and the at-risk individual, as well as through open classes and programs available to all members of the Wawarsing community, such as free consults with an ERH nutritionist.

Community partners in ERRHN’S CVD reduction initiative include: The Institute for Family Health; Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County; Ellenville Central School District; Ellenville/Wawarsing Youth Commission; Ulster County Office for the Aging; Ulster County Community Action Coalition; Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster; Food Bank of the Hudson Valley; Ulster County Correctional Facility; Rondout Valley Growers Association and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.

Since 2019, the Cardiac Wellness program has provided no-cost calcium score CAT scans to 442 people and carotid ultrasounds to 242 people — far exceeding their goal of 100 over a three-year period. In 2019, instructional physical activity classes, self-care classes and support groups offered by ERRHN were accessed more than 2,000 times by 567 unduplicated individuals. Additionally, ERRHN’s Farm-acy provided 950 bags of produce to families in 2019 and 703 bags in 2020.

For more information, contact Madison Freeman, program coordinator, at mfreeman@erhny.org or 845.647.6400, ext. 336.