Category Archives: Partner Spotlight

Live Well Allegheny partners, Red Lantern Bike Shop and Braddock Carnegie Library, collaborated to install an outdoor bike repair stand

One of the goals of Live Well Allegheny is to involve partners from all sectors—nonprofit, public, and private – in our campaign to make Allegheny County the healthiest county. Through our extensive community partner network, we aim to promote health and wellness in a variety of organizations. We also encourage our partners to work together to expand their work on health and to reach different communities. Two of our Live Well Allegheny partners, the Red Lantern Bike Shop and the Braddock Carnegie Library, provide an example of the power of connections with their recent collaboration on an outdoor bike repair stand.

The Red Lantern Bike Shop partnered with the Braddock Carnegie Library to install an outdoor bike repair stand at the library located in Braddock. The outdoor bike repair stand allows community members to put air in their tires for free and perform as-needed repairs to their bicycles. The free resource is a powerful tool for community members who use bicycles for transportation and recreation. Funding for the project was provided by PeopleForBikes.

The Red Lantern, which operates with a team of volunteers, provides free bicycle repairs and free bikes to children in the community. Currently run out of a repurposed shipping container, the bike shop provides free repairs, charging only for parts that need to be ordered. Additionally, part of the mission of the shop is to provide free bikes to kids whose families may not be able to afford a new bike. Volunteers collect used bicycles, fix them, and distribute them to families with children. Due to limited space and capacity, the Red Lantern is currently only open on Saturday mornings.

To expand the free resources provided by the bike shop, the Red Lantern partnered with the Braddock Carnegie Library to provide a space that is open 24/7 for bike repairs. The outdoor space provides access to an air pump and other tools that are required for bike repairs. By partnering with a popular community resource like Braddock Carnegie Library, the Red Lantern can serve more people in the community.

Do you know of an organization that would make a good Live Well Allegheny community partner? Spread the word! Organizations can find more information and apply here.

Live Well Allegheny and partners wrap up multi-year funded project, expand work with new project aimed at improving health in African American/Black communities

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. American Heart Month, observed in February, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of heart problems, and to promote healthy behaviors to prevent and reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular disorders. Typically, public health officials point to three major behavior changes that can reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases: eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and quitting smoking. However, in public health, we also know that there can be barriers to access healthy foods and finding opportunities for physical activity opportunities. For many of our neighbors, eating healthy and exercising regularly is easier said than done.

At Live Well Allegheny, we work to ensure that all Allegheny County residents can lead healthy lives. In December 2018, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) wrapped up a multi-year funding opportunity from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to enhance the strategy of Live Well Allegheny and improve health across the county. Live Well Allegheny was expanded through strategic partnerships with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Just Harvest, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED), and RAND Health to increase access to healthy food options and physical activity opportunities, and survey health behaviors with the goal of improving overall health of county residents.

To learn more about the collective impact of this project, check out our interactive story map!  You can also click here to view an infographic about the project that was created by RAND Health.

The success of the Richard King Mellon Foundation project led to a new funding opportunity to expand the work with a focus on health equity. In September 2018, ACHD was awarded a five-year national grant, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), from the CDC. The new project aims to enhance health equity in Allegheny County by addressing chronic disease risk factors in African American/Black populations living in six high-risk target communities. The new funding will allow ACHD to continue to address healthy equity and chronic disease risk factors by collaborating with community-based organizations. ACHD looks forward to another five years of prioritizing equitable access to health to ensure that all our residents can lead long, healthy lives.

Project Destiny offers a free community health training series by ACHD, part of an initiative to improve health in the Northside neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh

Knowledge is important to good health, and we need accurate information to maintain a healthy lifestyle. From the types of foods to eat to questions to ask your doctor, good health requires good information. Unfortunately, when it comes to health, there is a lot of misinformation out there. TV doctors, fad diets, and internet ads promise “miracle cures” and create confusion; however, there are reputable resources available to ensure that you are getting the best health information. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has an interactive toolkit, Know the Science, that uses interactive modules, videos, and quizzes to provide accurate and engaging health information. The website provides resources to better understand scientific topics and to help people get the most accurate health information.

To ensure that Northside residents have access to accurate health information, Project Destiny offered a health training series to their community health workers. The community health training series was facilitated by Lorraine Starsky, Allegheny County Health Department’s (ACHD) Chronic Disease Prevention Program Public Health Nurse. The five-part training series provided information about factors that contribute to chronic disease and strategies for improving health on an individual and community level. The series covered information about diabetes, cancer, and heart health awareness, as well as resources for eating healthy on a budget.

Project Destiny’s community health worker program is focused on improving health in the Northside by connecting residents to services. Part-time community health workers who are responsible for connecting Northside residents with available health resources and services. The community health workers go door-to-door connecting with residents to determine what services individuals and families need. Doing so provides Project Destiny with information about the factors that are impacting the health of residents in the Northside.

The community health worker program is part of a larger project, Thrive18, an initiative to improve health in the Northside’s 18 neighborhoods. Thrive18 is part of the BUILD Health Challenge. As an awardee of the BUILD Health Challenge, Project Destiny works with Allegheny General Hospital, ACHD, Buhl Foundation, and Highmark Health using a collaborative approach to improve health. By collaborating with other organizations, Project Destiny seeks to understand and intervene in the underlying factors that impact health like housing, education, and financial stability. By understanding the factors that influence resident health, the organizations hope to improve overall health in the Northside.

Wondering how to spot good health information? Check out our Be Choosy about Health Information guide for help!

Officially open in Clairton, Produce Marketplace brings fresh food, fruits and veggies to the community!

November serves as American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability, affecting over 30 million people nationally. Diabetes can cause a variety of health problems like nerve damage, kidney disease, blindness, and even death. The good news? People can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes by making healthy changes. Eating healthy foods and getting more physical activity lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Making healthy choices is not always easy. For many of our neighbors, affording and accessing healthy food is a challenge. Limited access to fresh, healthy foods is a barrier to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For residents of Clairton, finding healthy food is difficult. A city of almost 7,000 residents, Clairton has not had a grocery store for more than 10 years. While community organizations, including the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, have provided healthy food options with interventions like the Green Grocer, the community has been unable to bring a brick-and-mortar grocer to the residents of Clairton…until now.

Economic Development South, a Live Well Allegheny Community Partner, is bringing healthy food into Clairton with its new food market, Produce Marketplace. Produce Marketplace, a community-driven grocery store, is a place where residents can purchase fresh food in their neighborhood. Filled with fresh options including fruits and vegetables, meat, deli, dairy, and bread, the market fills a long-standing gap in the community. Clairton residents will no longer have to leave their community to purchase healthy foods. The store aims to keep prices low and will accept SNAP and WIC benefits. The market, located at 519 St. Clair Avenue, Clairton, Pennsylvania 15025, is open:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday and Friday: 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10 to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday: noon to 3 p.m.

The Produce Marketplace opened its doors to the public on October 27, and held a commemorative opening on October 26. During the soft opening, the market held a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring remarks from Allegheny County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Denis Davin, and Mayor of the City of Clairton, Richard Lattanzi, and along with other elected officials.

Next time you are in Clairton, make sure to stop by the Produce Marketplace and check out their selection of healthy options! You can also follow all the news about the market by liking their Facebook page.

Tobacco Free Allegheny, Live Well Allegheny, & Partners to Celebrate Smoking Cessation Awareness Week with Allegheny Quits for Life

Did you know that November 11-17 is Smoking Cessation Awareness Week? To raise awareness about tobacco cessation, Tobacco Free Allegheny (TFA), Live Well Allegheny, and supporting partners are joining together for the fourth annual Allegheny Quits for Life week. A week-long series of events and communications, the campaign is designed to support Allegheny County residents’ efforts to quit smoking and stop using tobacco products. Throughout the week TFA partners will be promoting tobacco cessation and healthy activities.

Smoking rates are declining nationally, but the battle is far from over. Every day, roughly 1,300 Americans die from smoking-related illnesses. This is not just a national problem; the health effects of tobacco disproportionately affect Western Pennsylvanians. In Allegheny County, 23% of county residents smoke exceeding the rate of Pennsylvanians (21%) and Americans (18.1%).

To combat the negative impacts of tobacco and build a healthier Allegheny County, TFA serves as a community resource, providing education about tobacco use and the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure. By celebrating Allegheny Quits for Life, TFA and its partners raise awareness about smoking cessation resources, the harmful effects of smoking, and promote healthy activities that can be used to substitute tobacco usage.

Allegheny Quits for Life partners are critical in conveying the message that a smoke-free Allegheny is a healthier Allegheny. There are a variety of ways to get involved in the celebration! Check out the list below for ways to be a part of Allegheny Quits for Life:

Additionally, we encourage you to join in the celebration on Tuesday, November 13th by participating in Tango Tuesday! Tango Tuesday is the official kick-off of Allegheny Quits for Life Cessation Awareness week. The event features a free dance class with Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh, resources from local health organizations, a public press conference & more! See the Facebook Event for more information about Tango Tuesday!

For more information about the events and activities during Allegheny Quits for Life week, please visit: www.facebook.com/events.

Pittsburgh organizations attend Farm to Cafeteria Conference, learn ways to add locally-grown food to school meals

It’s Back-to-School season. The season tends to bring thoughts of new clothes, fresh pencils, cute bookbags and jam-packed schedules. For some people, however, back-to-school involves taking steps to safeguard children’s health by focused on immunizations and handwashing. At Live Well Allegheny, we believe it’s just as important to consider nutrition and nutrition in school meals as ways to improve our community’s health.

Recently, eight school food advocates from Pittsburgh attended the 2018 Farm to Cafeteria Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Representatives from Pittsburgh Public Schools, Deer Lakes School District, Mt. Lebanon School District, Woodland Hills School District, University of Pittsburgh, Grow Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council learned more about best practices to incorporate food grown and produced locally into school meals. We’re proud to say that these individuals are also part of four Live Well Allegheny school districts, one Live Well Allegheny workplace, and two Live Well Allegheny community partners.

Hosted by the National Farm to School Network, the conference brought together leaders and changemakers in farm to school procurement, school gardens, sustainability, and purchasing regulation. Farm to cafeteria is part of the farm to school movement which seeks to build connections between communities and locally-grown food and local food producers. Farm to school encourages changes in food purchasing and education to improve access to healthy foods, and to empower children to make informed food choices. The conference also included keynote speakers and a myriad of workshops covering topics including equity and access in school gardens, using food service guidelines to create healthy food environments, and methods of engaging state Agriculture departments.

Building on knowledge gleaned from the conference, local organizations hope to encourage more farm to school initiatives in Pittsburgh. The school representatives plan to implement more farm to school by increasing education among parents and students, measuring and communicating impact, implementing procurement changes, and incorporating garden and food production in the classroom.

Following the conference, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service announced Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS), in partnership with Grow Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, is a recipient of the USDA Farm to School grant award. The grant provides $5.2 million in awards to bring nutritious, local food into schools and bolster economic opportunities for farmers. PPS is one of two schools in Pennsylvania to receive the award. The grant funds will be utilized for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years to strengthen and standardized farm to school initiatives throughout the district. Grow Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council will engage local growers to provide produce in schools, and collaborate with community members to increase awareness and support for the farm to school movement.

Allegheny County Youth receive Free Meals and Fun through Summer Food Service Program!

School’s out for the summer! For many kids, summer is filled with pool days, summer camp, and popsicles; however, for thousands of kids in Allegheny County, summer can also mean no school meal and for those struggling with food insecurity, the lack of a free school meal can be impactful. It is estimated that 70,000 students in Allegheny County qualify for free or reduced lunch during the school year. During the summer months, many of those students go without meals. To help fill the gap, organizations like the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, a Live Well Allegheny Community Partner, support local distribution sites of the Summer Food Service Program.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a national program of the USDA that provides free meals to kids in the summer months. SFSP ensures that low-income children receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Through the program, local sponsors like churches and community organizations provide meals and activities to children ages 18 and under.

Allegheny County boasts nearly 300 distribution sites. The distribution sites, which range from churches to parks, provide free summer meals and fun activities to Allegheny County youth throughout the summer months. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s SFSP outreach initiative seeks to increase participation in the program by offering information, best practices, marketing support, and technical assistance to local sites.

To increase youth participation, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank collaborates with partners to support sites in providing activities during meal times. The Summer Food Toolkit, developed by United Way’s fitUnited, Let’s Move Pittsburgh, and Live Well Allegheny, was created to aid sites in facilitating fun educational activities. The toolkit offers curriculum and activities related to nutrition education, physical activity, and safety.

Wondering how you can find a summer food site near you? To find a site in your neighborhood, text “FOOD” to 877-877 or call 2-1-1 for the United Way hotline to hear site locations and meal schedules. You can also visit USDA’s Summer Meal Site Finder to find a site in your community.

Red Lantern Bike Shop and ACHD promote Bike Safety with Helmet Distribution!

As the calendar turns to June, the temperatures rise, and opportunities for physical activities pop up all over Allegheny County. With a variety of parks and trails, Allegheny County boasts endless opportunities for residents to get outside. While being active this summer, it is important to remember to be safe. June is the perfect time to focus on safety because it is National Safety Month. Did you know injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 40? This month, we encourage everyone to learn more about important safety issues, and ways to prevent injuries. To celebrate National Safety Month, we are spreading the word about one of our Live Well Allegheny Community Partners, the Red Lantern Bike Shop, and their work providing bikes and safe biking equipment to children.

The Red Lantern Bike Shop operates with a team of volunteers to repair bikes for free, and provide free bikes to kids in the community. Working out of a repurposed shipping container, Red Lantern Bike charges only for parts that need to be ordered, but bike repairs are done for free by volunteers. The organization is so much more than repairs, as part of its mission is to provide free bikes to kids whose families may not be able to afford a new bike. Volunteers collect used bicycles, fix them, and on Saturdays opens the shop for families with children to stop and pick up a free bike for their kids.

This summer, the Red Lantern Bike Shop will be providing a helmet along with a bike to children through a partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD)’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program and Traffic Safety Education Project. The helmet distribution is part of ACHD’s mission to prevent injuries while encouraging kids to be physically active. Funding for this program is provided by the PA Department of Health.

For more information on the Red Lantern Bike Shop, check out its website or Facebook page. Bikes are for any child, but parent and child must be present. Bikes are on a first-come, first-serve basis with typically 12 bikes available each Saturday from 10 AM to Noon. If they can’t find a bike for your child in the right size, you can come back again. The Red Lantern Bike Shop is located at 420 Braddock Avenue, in Braddock, next to Braddock’s Free Store.

American Heart Association Greater Pittsburgh Region Emphasizes Heart Health during American Heart Month!

For many of us, February is a time to show love and gratitude to our friends and family. It is a month full of cupids, flowers, and candy hearts. But for organizations like Live Well Allegheny Community Partner, American Heart Association Greater Pittsburgh Region (AHA), February is a time to remind Americans about the importance of heart health.

February began as American Heart Month in 1963 when Congress officially recognized the need to focus national attention on heart health. The federally-designated event serves to celebrate the progress that has been made and focus on the work that must continue to reduce the deadly risks and consequences of cardiovascular disease, including stroke.

Promoting heart health is essential to improving overall health in our communities. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in 1-in-4 deaths each year. Recent changes to blood pressure guidelines emphasize the importance of heart health. In November, health officials published new guidelines for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. A group of nine health organizations, including AHA, redefined the standard, lowering the guideline for high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80. The change in guidelines is meant to help people take steps to control their blood pressure earlier to avoid other health risks, such as heart disease.

Locally, AHA works to remind residents in the Greater Pittsburgh Region of the risks of cardiovascular diseases, and ways to reduce their risk. AHA provides people of all ages the tools they need to take control of their health. AHA works with corporate and community-based partners to implement programs in-and-around Allegheny County, especially in communities that have the greatest need for prevention, education, and health intervention. In partnership with community partners, AHA implements programs like Healthy BP for All and Challenge: BP.

Through Healthy BP for All, AHA works with 412 Food Rescue to provide heart healthy education and healthy cooking classes to 60 communities in Allegheny County. Additionally, AHA, in partnership with Live Well Allegheny, reaches communities through their Challenge: BP program. Challenge: BP encourages communities, organizations, and workplaces to take the challenge to help raise awareness and lower blood pressure of residents through evidence-based resources like Workplace Health Solutions and Check. Change. Control.

This February, AHA is using American Heart Month to emphasize the importance of maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. Throughout the month, AHA is spreading awareness of cardiovascular disease and promoting prevention of such diseases by providing information about heart healthy activities. On February 2nd, AHA is encouraging people to wear red for National Wear Red Day, which takes place every year on the first Friday in February. National Wear Red Day raises awareness and supports women in the fight against heart disease. By increasing awareness, speaking out about heart disease, and empowering women to reduce their risk for cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, AHA saves thousands of lives each year.

Additionally, AHA and UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute are hosting a free health screening event in honor of National Wear Red Day. The event is being held on February 2nd from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the U.S. Steel Tower, Concourse Level (600 Grant St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219). The event includes, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, glucose screening, heart health information, risk factor guidelines, heart-healthy recipes, and more! If you are concerned about your heart health, join AHA on February 2nd to take the first step in taking control of your health!

Family Support Centers take steps to make Allegheny County the healthiest county!

Did you know that there are 28 Family Support Centers (FSC) across Allegheny County that provide services to families with children under the age of six? We are proud to say that, with the help of the Family Support Center Network of Allegheny County, all 28 of the centers have taken steps to improve the health of the families they serve. We recognize those efforts as part of Live Well Allegheny. With the help of the FSC staff, we are continuing to make progress towards improving the overall health of county residents.

The improvements that the centers have made began in the winter of 2015. During the Family Support Retreat in late 2015, leadership decided to make health and wellness a priority. The Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Collaboration Committee was created to make that priority a reality. The HEAL Committee, which includes representation from Family Support Centers, the Allegheny County Health Department, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development, provides ongoing technical support and encouragement to the Family Support Center Network.

Fast forward to 2017. To date, all 28 Family Support Centers have completed the Healthy Eating and Active Living assessment. The assessment results were used as a baseline measurement for achieving best practices in health and wellness. Using those baseline measurements, each center developed goals and action steps specific to that center. The goals and action steps, that all focus on making staff and families at the centers healthier, include initiatives like offering fruit-infused water instead of soda, and identifying the portion size of food served. The centers have also taken advantage of partnerships with local organizations, like 412 Food Rescue, to improve food security for families, and have utilized the programs of national organizations like Cooking Matters to offer cooking classes.

On December 8th, the Family Support Policy Board and Live Well Allegheny held a recognition ceremony honoring the Family Support Centers for the steps taken towards improving health. During the ceremony, all the centers were recognized for their efforts by Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. Each center received a certificate and a gift bag acknowledging the work in improving the health of the families served.

Live Well Allegheny recognizes the commitment and contribution that the Family Support Center Network has made to Live Well Allegheny and to improving health and wellness in Allegheny County. The steps that the Family Support Centers have taken cannot be overstated. These efforts demonstrate a commitment to families in making the healthy choice the easy choice. It is through partnerships like the one with the Family Support Center Network that we can make the biggest impact on health in our county. We commend the Family Support Center Network for its contributions to our goal of making Allegheny County the healthiest county, and we look forward to our ongoing partnership in improving the health of all residents!