PA Healthy & Active Communities Summit

Capital BlueCross DCNR

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session I: Building Successful Community Collaborations

Breakout Session II: Highlighting Community Champions

Breakout Session I: Building Successful Community Collaborations

Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition: Community Coalition to Address Obesity

Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition’s Goal is to increase the number of adults and children at a healthy weight. Learn why it is important to build interventions where people live, work, and play. Identify ways to make healthy easy. Discuss the importance of incorporating the three elements of healthy weight management, nutrition, activity, and having fun throughout the lifespan, including strategies for a variety of age groups and settings. Review measurement tools and how to identify success. Summarize the importance of worksite, community, schools, physician, policy interventions, and recruitment and retention tactics.

Session Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to identify resources needed for a successful community coalition.
  2. Participants will be able to develop goals and identify measurement tools.
  3. Participants will be able to identify coalition subgroups and strategies for recruitment and retention.


  • Rosemary Search, RN, BSN, Manager, Community Health and Wellness, Lancaster General Hospital
  • Sue Lackman, MEd, Health Educator, Lancaster General Health

Get Outdoors (GO) York: Collaborating to Get Children Active

This interactive workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to learn a community-wide physical activity initiative developed by the Healthy York County Coalition, in partnership with the York County Library System, and conducted in York County since summer 2008. Program results, challenges, and lessons learned will be discussed, and participants will actively engage in the steps need to replicate a similar program in their own communities.

Session Objectives:

  1. Provide a basic overview of a summer-long, community-wide physical activity initiative conducted annually in York County.
  2. Discuss how diverse community agencies can effectively partner in program planning and implementation.
  3. Discuss results, challenges, and lessons learned from the York County program.
  4. Determine ways in which the program may be replicated in their own communities.


  • Kevin A. Alvarnaz, MBA, Director of Community Health Improvement, WellSpan Health
  • Paula Gilbert, BA, AMLS, Director of Youth Services, Martin Library and the York County Library System

Building an Active Allentown

Tina Amato, Nutrition & Physical Activity Manger at the Allentown Health Bureau, and Greg A. Weitzel, Allentown’s Director of Parks & Recreation, will discuss ongoing efforts and initiatives to implement environment and policy changes to support physical activity. They will highlight the importance of partnerships and the involvement of key stakeholders in bringing about innovative solutions and interventions in Allentown’s streets, parks, and schools. Amato and Weitzel will discuss how they have combined momentum from the ACHIEVE grant and the "Connecting Our Community" comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plan with Allentown’s existing assets to successfully launch many innovative initiatives.

Session Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to give examples of policy and environmental change strategies that support physical activity.
  2. Participants will be able to recognize the importance of partnerships in all phases of the process to bring about policy and environmental change (planning, implementation and sustainability).
  3. Participants will be able to identify strategies for overcoming barriers to implementing policy and environmental changes to support physical activity.


  • Tina Amato, MS, LDN, RD, Nutrition & Physical Activity Manager, Allentown Health Bureau
  • Greg Weitzel, Director, Parks & Recreation Department, City of Allentown

It Takes a Community: Connecting Partners, Trails, & Resources

Carlisle Area Health & Wellness Foundation staff will provide participants with a historical overview of how community leaders and advocates in the Carlisle region merged their collective visions for creating a healthier, more active community. Common goals centered around health, walkability and safety helped to bring about changes in the region’s "community design" and the implementation of innovative programming. The presentation will feature the various community partnerships that were key during the initial stages and are even now more vital as the community strives to sustain its momentum and marked achievements. Connecting people and trails have paved the way for this community’s change!

Session Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the importance of developing partnerships
  2. Participants will learn how partnerships can be used to leverage funding
  3. Participants will learn how environmental and policy change impact a community


  • Gail Witwer, Director of Planning, Carlisle Area Health & Wellness Foundation

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Breakout Session II: Highlighting Community Champions

Healthcare Champion

Elizabeth George, MD
President, Mercersburg Area Council for Wellness (MACWell)
Family Physician with Summit Physicians Services

Creating a Groundswell of Community Commitment to Wellbeing: The MACWell story is about shifting from one-on-one conversations with patients to creating a community conversation about wellness. MACWell has involved community leaders, borough government, schools, local business and individuals in a number of community projects and events. These include building a fitness trail, promoting a farmers market, writing a series of wellness articles, co-hosting a radio show and creating a "community adventure in healthy eating" with a best-selling author.

MACWell is organizing community cooking classes taught by local chefs, working with local businesses on employee wellness, and developing a long term walkability/bikeability/ connectivity project for our area. The projects themselves are important, but more significant is the process of sharing an idea, creating a vision, identifying key community persons and institutions in order to reach the whole community, creating the conversation for wellness so that the "mandate" for the projects come from the community, and creating teamwork so the projects are community projects.

Local Government Champion

Leo S. Lutz
Mayor, Borough of Columbia, Pennsylvania

Economic Development and Community Revitalization in Columbia Borough: Creating a vibrant, livable community by increasing recreation opportunities, walkability, parking, downtown beautification, and business attraction.

Workplace Champion

Steve Riccio, Ed.D., SPHR
Director of Staff Development, Dickinson College

For the last five years, Dickinson College has offered a comprehensive wellness program to meet the needs and interests of the employee community and their families. Dickinson’s proactive approach to wellness includes six key areas including physical, health screenings, educational, nutrition/weight management, stress management, and smoking cessation. Incentive-based programming has contributed greatly to the success of the initiative. Since the launch of the program in 2006, Dickinson has experienced a significant reduction in their healthcare renewal costs which has been reduced from double-digit rates to an average of 3 percent per year.

Active Youth Champion

Dave Brixius, BS, CSCS
Explosive Sports Performance

I encourage active living through respect, discipline, dedication, determination and personal responsibility. I want each individual to understand the importance of becoming active for a healthy and productive lifestyle. Not only do I ask for that of my clients, but also of myself and my staff, to respect each individual who walks through the door. The saying I use is "Eradicate the Softness" to become a healthier, stronger, and happier society.

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