Our Mission

An Armstrong County collaborative, HEALTHY Armstrong’s goal is to improve the health of families and to help children maintain a healthy weight through improved nutrition and increased physical activity.

More About Us

The HEALTHY in HEALTHY Armstrong is an acronym that stands for Healthy Eating Active Lifestyles Together Helping Youth.

The HEALTHY Armstrong collaborative has five major partners. The partners are ACMH/ACMH Foundation, Armstrong School District, Children’s Community Pediatrics – Armstrong, the County of Armstrong and UPMC Health Plan.

Our History

In 2004, Pennsylvania mandated all school districts to measure the Body Mass Indexes(BMI) of students and to develop a Wellness Policy. Approximately 35% of the children in Armstrong School District have BMI’s above the 85th percentile. In 2005, Armstrong Center for Medicine and Health Hospital, Armstrong School District and Children’s Community Pediatrics formed a coalition to address the problem of childhood obesity in Armstrong County. The coalition was called HEAL Armstrong(Healthy Eating Active Lifestyles).

Since 2005, the coalition grew to include community organizations, community leaders, parents, government officials and UPMC Health Plan, a major health insurer in western Pennsylvania. With the addition of so many groups, the coalition changed their name to HEALTHY Armstrong to better portray the collaboration and the mission.

The goal of HEALTHY Armstrong was for children to get extra physical activity and nutritional education. With the assistance of a CATCH Implementation Grant, a pilot program was initiated at Elderton Elementary School. The pilot program was implemented to learn what obstacles needed to be overcome and what would be successful for the entire school district. Elderton Elementary has approximately 260 children in grades K-6. Teachers initiated both in-school and after-school activities. Some of the activities included walking during lunch, monthly newsletters to parents, a Fitness Calendar for home use, wellness tips, pedometers, and a fitness club.

After the success of the pilot program, similar programs were started in all the elementary buildings in Armstrong School District. Each school has a Wellness Committee and a Facilitator. In 2009, HEALTHY Armstrong created two positions devoted to moving the obesity project forward. The positions are a Project Director based in the community and a School Program Coordinator called the Coordinator for Health and Wellness.

Executive Council

Dr. Hal Altman
Chief Medical Officer
ACMH/ACMH Foundation

Dr. Kiran Bhat
Pediatrician
Children’s Community Pediatrics-Armstrong

Chris DiVivo
Superintendent
Armstrong School District

Cheryl Soloski
Assistant Superintendent
Armstrong School District

 

Gina Pferdehirt
Director of Public and Community Relations
UPMC Health Plan

Pat Fabian
County Commissioner
County of Armstrong

Jason Renshaw
County Commissioner
County of Armstrong

Barri Sperski
Headstart
County of Armstrong

Ken Heilman
Headstart
County of Armstrong

Staff

Trisha Brice
Project Coordinator

Devin Lorigan
Health and Wellness Coordinator-ASD