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Rural Health Information Hub

Healthy You

Summary 
  • Need: Easier access to wellness programs in a Maine county covering a large geographic area.
  • Intervention: Healthy You was created to deliver wellness programming in 6 locations throughout the county, rotating for 2 months of the year to each location, with programming customized to the needs of each community.
  • Results: Over 5,000 community members annually participate in wellness programs.

Description

Healthy You logo Healthy You is a wellness program that serves Aroostook County, Maine. Aroostook County is the northernmost county in the state and has the largest land area, covering over 6,600 square miles.

To identify the region's wellness programming needs, Cary Medical Center conducted a series of focus groups with county residents. Based on input from focus group participants, Healthy You uses a broad definition of wellness, addressing overall well-being, including physical, emotional, mental, social, and family health. 

Focus group participants identified travel time and cost as barriers to accessing wellness programs. The hospital where wellness classes were offered was as much as 40 to 50 miles from some residents. To address geographic barriers, Healthy You developed a unique system of rotating through 6 communities, spending 2 months each year offering wellness programming catered to meet the needs of the following rural towns: Washburn, Limestone, Van Buren, Caribou, Fort Fairfield, and Presque Isle.

The program is a partnership of Cary Medical Center and Aroostook County businesses, organizations, and other healthcare agencies. It is funded and sponsored by Cary Medical Center with smaller event specific sponsorships from outside organizations.

Services offered

Healthy You provides:

  • Wellness programs 2 months per year in each community
  • Services tailored to meet community needs
  • New programs and repeated favorites catered to each community on a variety of topics including:
    • Nutrition
    • Cooking
    • Physical activity
    • Parenting
    • Chronic disease management.
  • Wellness activities include programs like:
    • Family fitness
    • Healthy living classes
    • Hands-on activities

You can find Healthy You Events & Information on their Facebook page.

Results

Healthy You celebrated its 10th year of services in 2018, delivering 48 wellness programs in 7 different towns in Aroostook County. Approximately 5,000 people participate each year in Healthy You programming.

Healthy You was the recipient of the Maine Public Health Association's Program of Excellence Award for 2013.

Challenges

Because of the difficulty accessing Healthy You programs due to weather and physical limitations for some participants, Healthy You began offering programs through an online webinar platform. Through the use of online devices, participants can now keep up with the classes and opportunities from remote locations.

In recent years, more people have expressed their desire to stay informed about Healthy You programs. As a large number of participants are not on social media or actively utilizing technology, the option to promote solely through electronic means is not viable.

As a result, Healthy You has converted to a greener method of promotion. In addition to direct mailings, they have advertised in local newspapers and sent promotional emails. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as online calendars and local public access channels will also be utilized.

Replication

Partnerships are the key to the Healthy You program's ability to do so much on a small budget. Advisory committee members have roles in their community that allow for mutually beneficial arrangements.

Contact Information

Bethany Zell, Healthy You Program Director
Cary Medical Center
207.498.1361
bzell@carymed.org

Topics
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served
Maine

Date added
December 4, 2013

Date updated or reviewed
January 11, 2019

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Healthy You [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/743 [Accessed 7 July 2022]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.