Author: ACHD

About ACHD

Created in 1957, the Allegheny County Health Department is charged with protecting the environmental and public health of 1.2 million County residents through Pennsylvania Act 315 , the Local Health Administration Law.

One Community and One Workplace Earn Live Well Allegheny Status

January 25, 2018

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that one community and one workplace have earned the Live Well Allegheny designation. This brings the total to 50 communities, 41 restaurants, 14 workplaces and 13 school districts that are making health a priority in Allegheny County.

“We are very pleased to announce that the Borough of Dravosburg and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank have committed to the Live Well Allegheny program,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, ACHD Director. “To reach our goal of making Allegheny County the healthiest county in the nation, we want to ensure that residents have access to healthy options where we live, learn, work and eat. We encourage all community partners to join the Live Well Alleghenycampaign if they haven’t already done so.”

Live Well Allegheny Community
The Borough of Dravosburg is committed to accomplishing the goals of Live Well Allegheny, and will take actions that will impact both employees and residents. For employees, they will promote the participation in a voluntary wellness campaign and offer incentives for employees who walk or bike to work. For residents, the borough will focus on increasing physical activity by promoting walking trails, developing walking maps, encouraging multi-modal transportation by providing policies and facilities that encourage walking and biking, and promote wellness events. Dravosburg will also promote local farmers markets and ask for healthier options in their vending machines, and promote smoke-free buildings and perimeters.

Live Well Allegheny Workplace
The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has a Workplace Culture Committee that provides its employees with opportunities to improve physical health, mental health, and personal and community safety. Employees have access to: healthy food options in vending machines, filtered water stations, secure bicycle storage and safe outdoor walking paths. The Food Bank has integrated workplace policies, such as a tobacco-free policy, a breast-feeding policy that includes isolated areas and flexibility for employees to pump at work, and two Employee Assistance Programs. Health education, screenings and prevention are also offered, which includes a free annual flu shot clinic for employees.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Allegheny County Board of Health and ACHD Director, Dr. Karen Hacker.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with the Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny, Tobacco Free Allegheny Celebrate Tobacco Cessation Week

November 10, 2017

PITTSBURGH – Live Well Allegheny, Tobacco Free Allegheny and supporting partners are joining together for the third annual Allegheny Quits for Life week in Allegheny County this November 12-18. The week is dedicated to promoting tobacco cessation and healthy activities.

“Smoking rates have been on the decline in Allegheny County; however, 19% of county residents smoke, and that number is still far too high,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Health Department. “Decreasing smoking is a primary objective of our Live Well Allegheny campaign, and we strive to achieve that goal. For those who smoke, consider quitting this week. There are lots of options for cessation that can make all the difference for you and your loved ones.”

Allegheny Quits for Life will entail a week-long series of events and communications designed to support residents’ efforts to quit smoking. Its kickoff event will be “Merengue Monday,” presented in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and the event will be held at Katz Plaza (7th and Penn Avenue) at noon on November 13. All events are aimed at helping individuals stop tobacco use and to learn to live healthier lifestyles. (In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Grand Staircase/Gallery in the Allegheny County Courthouse.)

Allegheny Quits for Life also coincides with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, being held on Thursday, November 16, when smokers are encouraged to quit for the day. By quitting, even for just one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) encourages participants to share their messages about Allegheny Quits for Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the week, using the following hashtags: #WhyIQuit, #AlleghenyQuitsForLife and #HowDoYouLiveWell.

If you or someone you know wants free help to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). The PA Free Quitline offers personalized coaching sessions and free nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum or lozenges), as available. Sign-ups can be done online at paquitlogix.org. In addition, local resources can be found on the Tobacco Free Allegheny website at: http://tobaccofreeallegheny.org/Where_to_get_help.asp.

More about Tobacco Free Allegheny

Tobacco Free Allegheny (TFA) was established on June 17, 2002 to administer and manage the comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation program in Allegheny County. TFA is a non-profit organization supported by the PA Department of Health and governed by a Board of Directors. The mission of TFA is to change the community norms surrounding tobacco use to make it uncommon to see, use or be negatively impacted by tobacco or tobacco smoke pollution (secondhand smoke). For more information, visit: www.tobaccofreeallegheny.org.

More about Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has helped to transform a downtrodden section of downtown into a world-class Cultural District that stands as a national model of urban revitalization through the arts. Touring Broadway, contemporary dance, family events, education and community engagement programs, and cutting-edge visual arts are among the variety of arts and entertainment the Trust presents and exhibits. Hundreds of artists, thousands of students, and millions of people expand their horizons in our theaters, galleries, and public art environments. For more information, visit https://trustarts.org/.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Named a Live Well Allegheny Workplace

October 12, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) designated Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC as its newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace, it was announced today.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has been a fixture in our community for more than 120 years and has always focused upon the health and well-being of our region’s children, so it’s no surprise that they’ve joined the Live Well Allegheny effort,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Having a partner that is so substantial – more than one million outpatient visits, 12,000 inpatient stays, 9,600 observation stays, 147,000 emergency and Express Care visits, and 23,300 surgical procedures – is no small accomplishment and I commend ACHD and Children’s for working together to make us the healthiest county in the country.”

Children’s Hospital takes pride in focusing on employee health and culture. At the main hospital, all employees have access to the Children’s Fitness Center. A Wellness Committee, comprised of employees, offers educational sessions on a variety of health-related topics and event. The committee also encourages all employees to take regular walks around the campus daily. In addition, Children’s is a tobacco-free campus, and the hospital provides healthy food choices in its cafeteria and in vending machines.

“I am very pleased to bring Children’s Hospital on board as the newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Health Department Director. “Children’s Hospital is striving to improve the health of their employees through a variety of exciting efforts. We look forward to working together to help improve the health of all Allegheny County residents.”

Children’s moved to a new campus in May 2009, and developed a “green” campus with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the main hospital and John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center. The buildings incorporate natural light and employ energy, water, materials and land as efficiently as possible.

“Our physicians, nurses and support staff who are among leaders in their fields make Children’s a world-class pediatric facility, and we are proud to have a hospital that is healthy, innovative and environmentally sustainable for patients, families, and all staff,” said Christopher Gessner, President, Children’s Hospital. “We strive to create a work environment that enables and fosters healthy living behaviors for everyone.”

Children’s also has used more than 30 measures to design one of the quietest hospitals in the world, which includes acoustic ceiling tile in lieu of hard ceilings; special use of carpeting and door seals; silent notification for nurse call through integration of wireless communication devices; and use of personal communication devices in lieu of overhead paging.

“As committed as Children’s Hospital is to the healthy lifestyles of our employees, we also are very proud of our continued and valued partnership with area schools and out-of-school time providers to advance healthful lifestyle choices for students, including adding physical activity and healthful eating into their daily routine,” said Anne Marie Kuchera, Director, Children’s Community Health. “We have helped over 60 schools and 70 after school programs throughout the region create healthier environments for students.”

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with the Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to “Live Well.”

Live Well Allegheny was launched by County Executive Fitzgerald in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Dr. Hacker.

Several New Live Well Allegheny Designations

August 17, 2017

PITTSBURGH –  The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that one municipality, one school district, two workplaces and four restaurants have been designated as part of the Live Well Allegheny campaign during the past month. This brings the total to 49 communities, 13 school districts, 13 workplaces and 41 restaurants that are making health a priority in Allegheny County.

“In order to reach our goal of making Allegheny County the healthiest county for all residents it takes all of us doing our part to make healthy choices where we live, learn, work and eat,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director. “I am so pleased to be able that these organizations are joining with us in our efforts, and thank them for each contributing to Live Well Allegheny.”

Live Well Allegheny Community

Mount Oliver Borough is committed to sharing information on wellness campaign events with the broader community to encourage the voluntary participation of residents, encourage multi-modal transportation of residents by providing facilities or policies that encourage walking and bike riding with a specific focus on making good connections to municipal parks and promoting and their farmer’s market.

Live Well Allegheny School District

The Elizabeth Forward School District’s commitment began with a community garden that is farmed by elementary students at Greenock Elementary School and a summer enrichment class called, “Little Sprouts.” The class teaches children about growing and cultivating a garden as well as how to prepare the food that they grow. They also participate in “Cooking Matters” classes with parents sponsored by 412 Food Rescue, conduct several food drives and have a “Food Cupboard” at the school that provide food items for the neediest families. Additionally, the district provides healthy lunches and snacks for students. In the future, the district plans to conduct community surveys and to expand gardens to other schools in the district.

Live Well Allegheny Workplace

PITT OHIO has a robust workplace wellness program that includes offering healthy food and snacks for purchase in its cafeteria and in vending machines, and makes those same options available during company meetings and events. Employees have access to comprehensive health insurance including dental and eye care and preventative care without copays. The business has also established a tobacco-free workplace policy which includes cessation services, and is creating and sponsoring employee athletic teams and activities. To underscore PITT OHIO’s focus on health and wellness, a health and wellness coordinator has been in place since October 2015. In addition to providing resources, the workplace also provides annual Health Risk Assessments, a before-work stretching program, weight-loss competitions, group challenges and walking events.

TCV Community Services offers its employees healthy food options in vending machines, a private area for breastfeeding employees, well-lit and safe stairwells, and access to water fountains dispensers and coolers on site. Moving forward, the workplace will be considering consider a tobacco and smoke-free work campus. The organization is also exploring the integration of health and wellness policies into its organizational structure through the adoption of a healthy food policy, a policy to support breastfeeding employees, the use of financial incentives to encourage participation in health improvement activities, potential health-club discounts for employees, and will provide or ensure that employees have access to comprehensive health insurance including dental and eye care in addition to preventive care without co-pays. Employees have access to health education information and are encouraged to participate in screenings including those for body mass index, obesity, and blood pressure.

Live Well Allegheny Restaurant

The leadership of each of these restaurants has committed to providing healthy options for customers, information on which can be found on the Live Well Allegheny Restaurants page.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Homestead, Versailles Boroughs Become Live Well Allegheny Communities

July 29, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the Boroughs of Homestead and Versailles are the latest municipalities to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community. That announcement was celebrated earlier today at Homestead’s Community Day that was held in the borough’s Frick Park.

“We couldn’t be more proud to see so many municipalities want to become involved in what Dr. Hacker, the Board of Health and the Health Department are doing to improve the health of our community,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “It’s obvious that the work being done here, on a variety of issues, is really cutting edge in public health and that we are all benefitting from the expertise that Dr. Hacker has brought to our county.”

The Borough of Homestead is committed to providing a healthy environment for all residents. The community will share information on wellness events with the broader community and encourage volunteer participation, promote a Live Well Allegheny event in partnership with the campaign, develop trails accessible to all residents, encourage multi-modal transportation by providing facilities or policies that encourage biking and walking, promote and support farmers markets, encourage involvement with community activities, promote smoke-free buildings and perimeters and utilize web sites and social media to share wellness information.

“It is so important that as part of Live Well Allegheny our communities are taking specific action steps to improve the health of residents,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “There is so much that communities can do to impact health. Whether it is offering a wellness program for employees or promoting health and wellness activities to residents, every action makes a difference. Congratulations to the newest members of the campaign.”

The Borough of Versailles has committed to action steps to provide a healthier community for residents. The community commits to promote participation in a voluntary wellness campaign for employees, share information about the campaign with the broader community to encourage voluntary participation, encourage involvement with volunteer activities, promote smoke-free buildings and perimeters, promote health information focused on monthly or seasonal events and utilize web sites and social media to share wellness information.

The communities are also in the footprint for participation in the Live Well Allegheny Mon Valley Initiative that is supported with funding from the Jefferson Regional Foundation.  Its key objectives include increasing the number of people with access to smoke-free and tobacco-free environments, healthy food and beverage options, and physical activity opportunities. Partners include the Allegheny Health Network, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the Steel Valley Council of Governments, the Human Services Center Corporation, Tobacco Free Allegheny, Just Harvest, Allegheny County Economic Development and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched by County Executive Fitzgerald in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Deer Lakes, North Versailles Newest Members of Live Well Allegheny

June 7, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that the Deer Lakes School District has formally been designated as a Live Well Allegheny School. The announcement was celebrated at the district’s 8th Annual Employee Health & Wellness Fair.

“We know that what attracts people to Allegheny County and its municipalities most is the quality of life that we offer here. We are grateful to the Deer Lakes School District and North Versailles Township for joining us in our efforts for a healthier community,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Along with the existing members of the campaign, each of these steps ensure that we continue to offer a great quality of life in our communities and that we are also focused on continuing to improve those quality and, along the way, the health and well-being of our residents.”

The Deer Lakes School District is committed to providing a healthy environment for their students and staff members. The district intends to start a school garden through a recent grant for Tower Garden growing units, which will use aeoroponic technology and grow a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, the high school will incorporate Life-Skills program in conjunction with hands-on approach to gardening practices. The Skyward communication tool has helped the school promote healthy food changes to school lunches, including increasing low-fat milk options over sugary beverages and limiting processed foods. Deer Lakes School District has a wellness committee that has developed a walking club for staff and offers a complimentary salad meal to one teacher per week for participation in the club. Lastly, the school district is participating in the “Building Healthy Schools” program with Penn State PRO Wellness.

“As the Live Well Allegheny campaign continues to grow, it is so exciting to see how communities and school are taking on activities for health. We now have 12 schools/districts and 46 communities who have committed to adopting live well activities,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. This is a movement and it takes all of us working together to make Allegheny County a healthier place.”

The Township of North Versailles has also joined the Live Well Allegheny campaign, having been designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community. The township has committed to a number of action steps in order to provide a healthier community for residents. The community promotes smoke-free buildings, perimeters, as well as parks by participating in the “Young Lungs at Play” program. North Versailles is also committed to providing residents with opportunities to be physically active by maintaining parks and recently developing a walking trail. The community actively promotes and supports local Farmers’ markets. Lastly, the township commits to sharing information on wellness campaign events with the broader community to encourage the voluntary participation of residents.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched by County Executive Fitzgerald in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Wellbridge Health and Spectrum Charter School Commit to Live Well Allegheny

May 13, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced Wellbridge Health is the newest company to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace. Also, announced was Spectrum Charter School, the latest to receive designation as a Live Well Allegheny School. That announcement was celebrated at the BEE Well Family Expo at the Gateway # 4 Fire Hall in Monroeville.

“With each new Live Well Allegheny commitment we are closer to our goal of surrounding Allegheny County residents with healthy choices where they live, work and learn,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “Employers and schools have an important role in encouraging healthy behaviors and I commend the newest members to join the campaign.”

Spectrum Charter Schools has committed to the following action steps to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny School. First, the school district will provide body mass index (BMI) data with the Allegheny County Health Department. In addition, Spectrum Charter will host Touch a Truck—Bee Well EXPO, which is a family event to encourage active living and nutrition. They are committed to increasing fresh fruit and vegetable intake among students by offering fresh organic fruits on Mondays and Taste It Tuesdays as an opportunity for students to try new foods. In addition, the school is pursuing a Healthy Relationship curriculum. During the 2017-2018 school year, they will have a garden on-site and implement lesson plans in conjunction with the garden.

Wellbridge Health, a care management solutions company, prioritizes preventative healthcare for their clients and employees. As a Live Well Allegheny Workplace, Wellbridge Health is committed to creating a healthy, mindful, and active environment for employees. The organization will establish an Employee Wellness Committee to facilitate wellness in-services and host healthy pot-luck lunches periodically. In addition, they will encourage employees to incorporate more whole foods in their diets, consume 64oz/day water and avoid junk foods. Wellbridge Health will also increase activity by initiating a walking club, encouraging workplace exercise and implementing wellness challenges. With a focus on preventative care, Wellbridge Health encourages all employees to have regular primary care and dental visits, as well as offering regular blood pressure screenings. The organization promotes mindfulness by promoting activities such as yoga practice, meditation, and stress management.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

University of Pittsburgh Designated as Live Well Allegheny Workplace

April 19, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the University of Pittsburgh has committed to Live Well Allegheny by becoming a Live Well Allegheny Workplace. The announcement was made at the University of Pittsburgh’s MyHealth@Work Health and Wellness Center in celebration of the facility’s one-year anniversary.

“I’m thrilled to have the University of Pittsburgh join us in our effort to make our county healthier,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “It’s not surprising that the university is a good fit as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace with its focus on health, athletics, nutrition and so many other things that are the foundation to healthy living. I congratulate Chancellor Gallagher and all of the administration, faculty, staff and students on this designation and thank them for their involvement in the program.”

The University of Pittsburgh has committed to several action steps as part of its faculty and staff wellness program to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Workplace.

“We are so excited to have the University of Pittsburgh join our Live Well Allegheny efforts” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director Allegheny County Health Department. “Our Live Well Allegheny Campaign continues to grow and we know that employers play a significant role in promoting the health of their employees. It is organizations like the University of Pittsburgh that can make a real difference in the health of our county’s population by providing opportunities, incentives, and support for employee health improving activities.”

In the spirit of the University of Pittsburgh’s initiatives, the MyHealth@Work for the University of Pittsburgh Health and Wellness Center was created to provide free medical services, treating both acute and chronic conditions, for University faculty and staff regardless of insurance coverage. In addition to opening the MyHealth@Work Health and Wellness Center, the leadership has committed to faculty and staff wellness by hiring two staff positions, including a Wellness Specialist and part-time onsite Health Coach. The Wellness Specialist assists with the development of a wellness committee and creates recommendations for wellness initiatives appropriate to University faculty and staff. Currently, the University offers free health coaching in five lifestyle programs (weight management, nutrition, tobacco cessation, physical activity, and stress management). Learn more about the programs offered by visiting www.hr.pitt.edu/wellness.

“The University has top-down support for its wellness efforts. We have a responsibility to take advantage of the world-class expertise on campus, UPMC Health Plan’s experience, and the University community’s enthusiasm for the programs,” said John Kozar, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources. Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Cheryl Johnson added, “At the University, we are cultivating a wellness culture, which will provide additional incentives for all of us to become more involved in making healthy lifestyle choices.”

The University of Pittsburgh has been long committed to free preventative services and offers incentives to faculty and staff for participation in health improvement activities, including biometric screenings and preventative physical exams as well as completing an online health risk assessment.

The University also developed the Healthy Lifestyle Institute under the direction of Dr. John Jakicic, Distinguished Professor of Health and Physical Activity, which aims to improve community health by examining how biological factors like genetics can influence lifestyle behaviors, and how those factors impact chronic diseases and negative health outcomes, and translating evidence-based initiatives to programs focused on healthy lifestyle practices that target the University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, and students are a key component of this initiative.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Live Well Allegheny Welcomes Four Municipalities, Phipps Conservatory

April 11, 2017

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) today announced that the Borough of Bellevue, Borough of Sharpsburg, Borough of East McKeesport, and the City of Duquesne were designated as Live Well Allegheny Communities and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace.

“I’m thrilled to see the Live Well Allegheny program continue to grow and expand,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “With today’s announcement, we now have 41 municipalities, 10 school districts, 35 restaurants – some having multiple locations, and 10 workplaces all committed to working together to improve the health and wellness of county residents. What’s even more excited is that we have room to welcome even more and encourage residents to learn more about the initiative.”

The Borough of Bellevue committed to action steps intended to improve the health of residents including promotion of wellness campaign events to employees and residents, developing indoor and outdoor wellness trails that are accessible to residents of all abilities and to offer incentives for employees who walk or bike to work. In addition, Bellevue will promote healthier options in vending machines with nutrient content listed and promote smoke-free building and perimeters.

“It is so exciting to see more and more communities and workplaces join our Live Well Allegheny effort,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “We are committed to engaging all 130 municipalities in this effort and we are well on our way. With this announcement, we have 41 Live Well Allegheny Communities. These efforts to surround citizens with healthy options can make a big difference in the health of our County.”

The Borough of Sharpsburg committed to several action steps in order to become designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community. The municipality will promote participation of employees and residents in wellness campaign events and activities. Sharpsburg is committed to multi-modal transportation for residents by providing facilities or adopting policies that encourage walking and bicycling. In addition, the community will disseminate health information about physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation using websites and social media and support local farmers’ markets and smoke-free spaces.

The Borough of East McKeesport has been designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community for committing to the health of residents. The community will utilize social media tools as a way of communicating health messages and promote participation in wellness events. East McKeesport intends in developing walking maps as well as indoor and outdoor wellness trails, which are accessible to residents of all abilities. The borough will provide employees incentives to walk or bike to work as a way to promote multimodal transportation and also host an OpenStreets event on June 3rd, 11am-2pm. The community will support farmers’ markets and work with vending machine companies to add healthy food options. Smoke-free environments are a priority for the borough as well.

The City of Duquesne joins the Live Well Allegheny campaign by committing to partner with the Steel Valley Trail Council to promote the use of the trail by city residents as well as apply for funding to improve pedestrian and bicyclist access to the trail system. Duquesne will also promote and support farmers’ markets by partnering with the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and promote smoke-free buildings, playgrounds and perimeters.

The newest Live Well Allegheny Workplace, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens (Pittsburgh, PA) has already implemented many of the goals of the campaign as part of a workplace wellness program that started in 2013. Its mission is to provide opportunities for employees to engage in physical activity, attend educational classes on health and wellness and to access information on health and wellness during the work day. As part of its commitment, Phipps will expand their employee wellness program including the addition of on-site yoga and employee fitness center, expand programs which work within local communities such as Homegrown and Let’s Move Pittsburgh, Map a safe walking route starting and ending from the workplace or in vicinity and set up a walking group mid-day.

Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 by County Executive Fitzgerald as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

American Heart Association, Allegheny County Team Up to Build Culture of Health

March 14, 2017

Challenge: BP Aims to Raise Awareness and Lower Blood Pressure of Residents

PITTSBURGH – The American Heart Association (AHA) and Allegheny County, through its Live Well Allegheny initiative, have partnered to present Challenge: BP, an effort designed to encourage communities, organizations and workplaces to help control high blood pressure of county residents.

“We are recruiting and working with workplaces and community based organizations to provide them with evidence-based tools and resources to empower their employees and members to take control of their blood pressure. This community-wide challenge builds the idea that we are all in this together, and that we can achieve our goals together as a community,” said Deb Banks, Executive Director of the American Heart Association, Greater Pittsburgh Region. “We are encouraging communities, organizations and workplaces to take on this challenge to live healthier, and managing your blood pressure is a good first step.”

Nearly 80 million adults have high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension).  HBP has no symptoms and is often referred to as the silent killer. High blood pressure is one the leading risk factors of cardiovascular disease and stroke. In Allegheny County, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease is higher than the state and national average.

“When we launched Live Well Allegheny, it was with the idea that our stakeholders and partners could help shape and guide the efforts that we were undertaking through their own interests and expertise. That is certainly the case with this partnership with the American Heart Association,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Working cooperatively with the AHA and all of our stakeholders, partners, communities, schools and workplaces to talk about the need to be aware of high blood pressure and the steps that we can all take to reduce that risk is an important part of a healthy community.”

The goal of Challenge: BP is to empower participants to take ownership of their cardiovascular health, and to lower blood pressure by 10 points on average as a community.

“We know that hypertension is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Some of our communities are disproportionately impacted,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “This collaborative effort with the AHA will encourage communities and workplaces to participate in improving the culture of health. It’s the hallmark of the Live Well Allegheny campaign.”

According the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.  While there is no cure for HBP, using medication as prescribed and making positive lifestyle changes can help enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and more.

Companies already participating in the inaugural year include Gateway Health who will be offering blood pressure management programs to their members; and Giant Eagle/Market District pharmacy locations, where you can take part in their blood pressure management programs.  Other workplaces engaged in this challenge so far are CCAC, MARC USA, Teletech, Veteran Leadership Program of Western PA, all of which will be offering blood pressure management programs to their employees.

Workplaces and community organizations can sign up free of charge to participate in Challenge: BP until March 31, 2017.  This challenge period is from March through November 30, 2017.  A new cycle will start in 2018. The American Heart Association will provide free tools and resources to assist your group with the challenge. Participating entities will be recognized at the end of the program, and they will be able to nominate an outstanding member who made significant changes in their lifestyle to improve their health.

For more information on Challenge: BP, visit  www.heart.org/Pittsburgh or the Challenge: BP page.  To register your organization or workplace, email the American Heart Association at ChallengeBP@heart.org.

Follow the conversation and stay connected using #challengeBP, #AHAPGH and  #howdoyoulivewell

# # #

About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association:

The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
444 Liberty Avenue │ Suite 1300 │ Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412-208-3550