We Can!® Partner Extends Summer Heat Wave Into Fall

Girl running while flying kite

Posted October 5‚ 2010

The weather may be getting cooler, but We Can! activities are still hot as can be in Pittsburgh, where We Can! corporate partner UPMC Health Plan is keeping the flame burning with a variety of activities.

Earlier this year we told you how UPMC Health Plan had partnered with the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh (JCC). That partnership has been on fire all summer, and is blazing forward into the fall. The two groups are working on a third installment of the hugely popular Energize Our Families: Parent Program classes for October.

"The We Can! Energize Our Families program is a great way to help families learn about a healthy lifestyle while they have fun," says Marsha Mullen, Assistant Fitness Director and We Can! Program Administrator for the JCC. "My goal is to help everyone—parents and children—get on the path to lifelong fitness."

UPMC Health Plan supports the classes by providing funding and in-kind support for marketing and communication efforts, including the development and distribution of a postcard that was sent to a group of UPMC Health Plan members.

The organizations also recently collaborated on a highly creative, old-fashioned, black and white, silent-film style video which they submitted to We Can!'s first video contest. UPMC Health Plan developed the script, and provided staff time and video equipment. JCC hosted the video shoot at one of its summer camp sessions with youth ages 8–13. You can see UPMC's video and all the other submissions at www.facebook.com/nihwecan.

"Our collaboration with the JCC on the We Can! video is a good example of the relationships we have with our We Can! Pittsburgh partner organizations," says Michael Culyba, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at UPMC Health Plan. "Good relationships with community organizations are essential for effective We Can! programming."

But that's not all!

In the warm-up to summer, UPMC Health Plan hosted a We Can! training in Pittsburgh in April. It helped jump-start interest in the We Can! program and create an opportunity for sites and other interested stakeholders to share resources and lessons learned. "We were very pleased with the participation at the training event," said Dr. Culyba, "and it was a great opportunity to reinforce awareness of good nutrition, the value of increased physical activity, and decreased screen time." It was a success, drawing approximately 100 attendees from both in and out of state.

We Can! Pittsburgh

Then, in May, the project director from a UPMC Health Plan-supported program in nearby Armstrong County—HEALTHY Armstrong—presented the program's successes and challenges at a We Can! strategy workshop that UPMC Health Plan representatives also attended, sharing ideas for growing We Can! with fellow participants.

Other We Can! Pittsburgh partner organizations have held We Can!-related activities this summer. The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh held multiple events focusing on such activities as fencing, golf, and hula hooping. The museum's big summer event, Game On!, featured an afternoon of timeless, active games that some children may never have played—but their parents or grandparents remember—such as sack races, water balloon toss, hopscotch, and relays. H. J. Heinz, another We Can! corporate partner and supporter of We Can! Pittsburgh, offered healthy recipes to their employees and spread the word about the We Can! program at its summer employee picnic in July. These recipes were also included in delivery bags at Right by Nature, a local Pittsburgh health food store, and Good Apples, an e-commerce grocery that delivers fresh foods to local workplaces.

News of UPMC Health Plan's We Can! activities has been burning up the airwaves as well. In May, a Pittsburgh woman who had participated in the JCC's We Can! program with her kids was interviewed by Pittsburgh's ABC television affiliate and mentioned how We Can!'s Go, Slow, Whoa chartpdf document icon (170 KB) helped improve her family's food choices. You can read the full story at http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/health/23522010/detail.html (scroll down for the information about We Can!). It included a link to the We Can! Pittsburgh web page, http://www.upmchealthplan.com/about/wecan.html, and there were more than 1,000 hits on this site through the article's web link. In fact, there has been a steady increase in visitors to the web pages this year: 224,500 visitors and counting!

UPMC Health Plan and one of two We Can! City/County programs it supports—We Can! Pittsburgh—were also recently featured in a regional magazine, Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health.

What does the future hold?

UPMC Health Plan is preparing to work with the H.J. Heinz Company to conduct even more We Can! programming in the metro area, and has plans to extend We Can! programming to central Pennsylvania Latinos. UPMC Health Plan is currently gathering advice from other We Can! sites about how to tailor programming to Spanish-speaking individuals. The Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is gearing up to have some programming activities this fall at select satellite offices to help parents learn easy, fun, and practical ways for their kids and family to live healthy. They also plan to hold a fall health fair for inpatient children, their families, and all staff that will feature We Can! materials and other health and wellness information.

With all that's on tap, it looks like Pittsburgh and central Pennsylvania may be in store for a fun, We Can!-filled fall!

Last Updated: February 13, 2013