Category Archives: Live Well Stories

AARP Partners with Alzheimer’s Association for Pittsburgh Summit on Alzheimer’s & Dementia

A Collaborative Community Conversation for the African American Community

In honor of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pittsburgh Chapter partnered with AARP for a summit that addressed how Alzheimer’s and other dementia impacts the Black community and ways to address it in the area. The event was held on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at the Hosanna House. The Allegheny County Health Department attended this event to show support for the community and to provide resources to those in attendance.

According to the 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic American seniors are more likely than their white counterparts to have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Research hasn’t identified the cause but higher rates of cardiovascular, heart and blood vessels, disease may play a role. Some studies indicate that after correcting for overall health and socioeconomic status, these differences disappear. During the month of June, Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month the Alzheimer’s Association wants to amplify the message that this is not just an aging issue, but a lifespan one that should be addressed in the way we address other chronic diseases. Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis that takes a physical, emotional, and financial toll, and as with any such crisis, there are potential ways to intervene and implement public health best practices to improve lives.

Only 20 percent of Black Americans say they have no barriers to excellent care and support for Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The summit on included experts speaking about different facets of the disease, as well as caregivers sharing firsthand experiences.

June is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

“This summit showed the importance of healthy aging and preventing chronic diseases in relation to preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia,” said Dr. Debra Bogen who attended the event. “The Alzheimer’s Association is an active Live Well Allegheny Community Partner and they provide valuable resources and information to help all Allegheny County residents live long and healthy lives.”

If you are interested in learning how to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association, please connect to Sara Murphy by emailing

For more information about Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – visit the Alzheimer’s Association website or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.

May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month

May is Nat'l Asthma and Allergy Awareness MonthIn Allegheny County, it is estimated that 10 percent of adults live with asthma. Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled with medication and avoiding certain triggers.

Risk factors for asthma vary and include tobacco smoke, air pollution, dust, animal dander, other allergens, family history, allergies, obesity, occupational exposure, and poverty.

The Allegheny County Asthma Control Project began last June to improve asthma outcomes for children using an evidence-based approaches to reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations for asthma, increase asthma self-management skills, and impact asthma policy. One component of the Allegheny County Asthma Control Project is to make referrals for families with children with asthma obtain clinical and indoor air quality education and may help patients find funding to remove asthma triggers in their homes.


Highly Connected

Rebuilding Together (RBT) – Pittsburgh, a partner in the project – serves families through funding from the Department of Human Services to help with health and safety repairs that do not exceed $2,000. For larger repair requests, RTP connect clients to other funding sources such as URA programming and County Zero Interest Loan Program.

If you have a family that you would like to refer, please contact Dr. Jim Weeden at

Teen Expo at Duquesne University

ACHD Participates in Teen Expo at Duquesne University


ACHD Injury Prevention Staff and partners presented the first Teen Drivers Safety Expo at Duquesne University on Thursday, March 17, 2022. We worked with the following partners to organize the event: AAA, PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project, Port Authority Police, Allegheny County Police, and the Duquesne University Police.

The Teen Expo gives students the opportunity to practice safe driver and passenger behaviors while they learn about highway safety by playing games and participating in fun activities. One activity students participated in was trying to complete a maze while using weed goggles. The goggles simulate the effects of marijuana that result in delayed decision-making skills.

Another activity was conducted with our local law enforcement officers, including the Allegheny County and Port Authority Police Officers. This activity used the ‘beer goggles’ to conduct field sobriety tests. The sobriety test is similar to those used if an officer thought a driver was impaired. While the results of the maze and the field sobriety tests were often funny in this relaxed setting, the intent is to make the students aware of the dangers of smoking marijuana and how this impacts their decision-making skills while they are driving or even taking a test while impaired.

Teen Expo at Duquesne University

Children’s Dental Health Month Discussion With Dr. Sandra Thompson


By Dave Zazac, ACHD Administration

To celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, I interviewed the Administrator of the ACHD Dental Program, Dr. Sandra Thompson. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Why did you want to be a dentist and what brought you to us in public health? I became a dentist because I was interested in medicine and liked working with my hands. Shortly after my dental school graduation, I was hired as a part time contract dentist for ACHD. I found public health more fulfilling than private practice because it focuses on prevention of cavities. Starting with visits to WIC & FCH, parents receive education on how to prevent cavities. We have former patients who are bringing their own children to our clinics because they remember having a positive experience.

What about your staff? I believe you couldn’t do without them. You are certainly correct about my staff. PA licenses Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioners (PHDHP) who are experienced dental hygienists with additional training who can practice in a public health setting, under the general supervision rather than direct supervision of a dentist. ACHD is fortunate to have 3 PHDHPs: Charmaine Rahamut-Ali Smith, Elizabeth Franz and Kattrina Ehn. ACHD also has dental assistants, like Ethel Lynn Tolliver, who keep the clinics running smooth. In the past, they’ve helped coordinate the Fluoride Varnish and Dental Sealant programs. Lastly, ACHD has several contracted dentists that provide services beyond the scope of the PHDHP, not only in our clinics but in the school programs as well.

How can we all celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month?  In the past, we used social media to promote our clinics during February. Our clinics are now booked for months, but unfortunately have a high “no show” rate. We’re hoping our social media and website can be used in an educational effort about good dental health to decrease this rate by getting children and their parents to keep their scheduled dental appointments.

March is National Nutrition Month! Celebrate a World of Flavors!

Every year during March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses its efforts on encouraging everyone to make informed food choices and to develop healthier eating habits through the National Nutrition Month campaign.

This year’s theme, Celebrate a World of Flavors, embraces the global cultural variety of foods and highlights the role that registered dietitian nutritionists play in helping people reach their health and nutrition goals while promoting inclusivity and celebrating individuals’ cultural foods and heritage. They have a wide variety of resources about nutrition that are translated into many different languages available at the following web site:


We do our part in Allegheny County to participate in the National Nutrition Month campaign by promoting Live Well Allegheny. The county-wide initiative aims to improve the health and well-being of all Allegheny County residents. We recruit and encourage local participants (communities, schools, restaurants and workplaces) to increase their physical activity levels, consume healthier foods and take an overall proactive approach to health. We encourage all the municipalities, school districts, restaurants and workplaces in Allegheny County to Gain Live Well status and join us in making Allegheny County a healthy place to live.


Live Well Schools pledge to make their student population healthier by implementing healthy eating policies during the school day. Pittsburgh Public Schools, the second largest district in the state of Pennsylvania, and a Live Well Allegheny School, has taken the initiative to collaborate with the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council and to include the Good Food Purchasing Program in their five-year strategic plan. For more information, view this link.


Active People, Healthy Nation

Nationally, only one in four adults meet national standards for combined aerobic and muscle strengthening. Active People, Healthy NationSM is a national initiative led by the CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027.

To reach this goal, communities can implement evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity. Active People, Healthy NationSM is focusing on the following strategies:

  • Activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations
  • Access to places for physical activity
  • School and youth programs
  • Community-wide campaigns
  • Social supports
  • Individual supports
  • Prompts to encourage physical activity
  • Equitable and Inclusive Access

Live Well Allegheny strives to provide resources on increasing physical activity in our communities. To find local resources near you, check out our Live Well Allegheny Partners. For more information on the Active People, Healthy NationSM Initiative visit their website, “like” CDC Eat Well Be Active on Facebook, or join the conversation on twitter @CDC_DNPAO.

Tobacco Free Adagio Health Services and Programs

Tobacco Free Adagio Health (TFAH) is the Regional Primary Contractor for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s tobacco prevention and control work in Allegheny County. The goal of TFAH is to assist smokers in quitting and prevent new users from starting.

TFAH works to promote tobacco-free policies that protect residents from the harms of secondhand smoke where they live, where they work, and where they play. TFAH uses certified tobacco treatment specialists (CTTS) to help smokers interested in beginning their quitting journey identify triggers and build new, healthier habits and strategies. These strategies help people find more success in their attempts to quit smoking. This program is offered virtually, in person, individually or in group cessation classes.

TFAH Youth Services Coordinators provide health education on the following topics:

  • Big Tobacco’s impact on the community
  • Big Tobacco’s marketing campaigns’ impact on underserved communities
  • Ways we can come together as a community to improve health outcomes for everyone in our region
  • Tobacco’s impact on the body, the brain and the environment

TFAH partners with a lot of healthcare providers and community-based organizations to provide education and to address health disparities for people in the following communities:

  • African Americans,
  • LGBTQIA+ individuals,
  • Veterans,
  • Youth,
  • Women,
  • Those contending with mental and behavioral health issues.

For more information, please visit

For 50 years, Adagio Health has been serving the healthcare needs of women and families throughout Western Pennsylvania. Our service area includes:

  • 62 counties in Pennsylvania
  • Seven counties in West Virginia
  • Five counties in Southern New York State

Many of the 110,000 patients receiving Adagio Health’s services are women who are uninsured or underinsured. Services are provided through funding from foundations, the State and Federal Government, and in partnership with a variety of local organizations and other funders. For more information, please visit or call 800-215-7494.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Adopt the Good Food Purchasing Policy

The Good Food Purchasing Policy (GFFP) was created by the Center for Good Food Purchasing. This policy helps institutions prioritize healthy, sustainable, regional, and fair foods in their purchasing contracts. The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council is working with Pittsburgh Public Schools and other community partners to create, promote and help implement a “Good Food Purchasing Policy” in the district.

The GFFP emphasizes five fundamental values:

  • Nutrition
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Regional economics
  • Valued workforce
  • Animal Welfare

The Center for Good Food Purchasing works with agencies and institutions to commit to using language that promotes these values in their food contracts by adopting a purchasing policy.

On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education passed the Good Food Purchasing Policy for the district. PPS is the second largest school district in Pennsylvania and serves over 23,000 meals daily with a food service budget around $15 million, primarily funded by meal reimbursements through federal programs.

“Nationally, initiatives like the Good Food Purchasing Policy and Program are designed to strengthen regional food economies and protect communities, workers, and buyers from the types of food supply chain shocks that we are now seeing as a result of the pandemic,” said Sarah Buranskas, Project Manager, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council.

The GFFP Coalition includes Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, Pittsburgh parents, Center for Good Food Purchasing, Allegheny County Health Department (REACH), UPMC Children’s Hospital, Adagio Health, PPS Food Service Department, Imagine PPS, PPS Obama 6-8, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture and Humane Action Pittsburgh.

View the press release.

The Good Food Pittsburgh Coalition meets on the second Monday of each month from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Buranskas or Jennifer Giovanniello with any questions at or

Earn Food Bucks for more food at local Farmers Markets

The Food Trust’s Food Bucks program, in partnership with Just Harvest and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, gives shoppers $2 in food bucks coupons for every $5 spent in food stamps. Launched in 2010, and originally only available in Philadelphia, this healthy food incentive program has expanded to a statewide initiative, with a focus on the Pittsburgh region and western Pennsylvania. The Food Bucks program is offered in over 50 retail settings, including farmers markets, mobile markets, corner stores and supermarkets.

The Food Bucks program allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, benefit holders to stretch their budgets to include fresh, healthy, and local fruits and vegetables.

Visit The Food Trust to explore a map to see where, when and how you can earn Food Bucks to purchase fruits and vegetables, and watch the video below to learn more about the Food Bucks program.

Farmers markets, corner stores, supermarkets or other retailers serving SNAP-eligible populations can apply to distribute Food Bucks by contacting Emily Schmidlapp at or 215-575-0444, ext. 5178.

#REACH4Allegheny Wednesdays!


The Allegheny County Health Department is teaming up with local and national partners to address disparities in African-American communities. The REACH program, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -funded initiative, aims to achieve health equity and prevent chronic disease.

In order to spread awareness, #REACH4Allegheny Wednesdays have been created to spotlight REACH partner organizations.

See below for a brief spotlight on two REACH partners:

Youth Opportunities Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth through education and mentoring. They offer after-school, in-school and summer programming to focus on academic and behavioral improvement. They received a small grant from the REACH Initiative and are teaching children about different cultures.

As part of the program, kids learn about a culture and then eat and cook a meal associated with that culture. For instance, they cooked a Chinese meal that consisted of lo mein with chicken and shrimp fried rice with bubble tea. Students also learned about Jamaica’s history and culture and enjoyed a Jamaican dinner courtesy of 2 Sisters 2 Sons restaurant in Sharpsburg. The youth later prepared jerk chicken, “Rasta Pasta,” steamed cabbage, rice and peas, fried plantains and Jamaican rum cake.

Follow them on Facebook to catch up on all their activities –> YouthOppor Development | Facebook.

Allen Place Community Services offers virtual fitness classes, including the “Dance and Be Fit” program led by the king of line dancing, Roland Ford. Founder and Retired Nurse Jerry Allen is committed to providing health and wellness programs for older residents on the Northside and beyond. The organization also offers a weekly Bible study for your spiritual health via Zoom. Check out their website for more information: