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Press Release: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Awards $49,000 Grant to Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley Towards the Healthy Living Center of Excellence

Healthy Eating for Successful Living program funds mark first Harvard Pilgrim Foundation grant to support new focus on healthy aging

 Wellesley and Lawrence, Mass. – Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation today announced it has awarded $49,187 to Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and the Healthy Living Center of Excellence in Lawrence, Mass. This is the Foundation’s first grant awarded to support active living and healthy aging. The grant will support lay leader trainings and workshops throughout Massachusetts to train leaders to provide Healthy Eating Active Living workshops for seniors.

“Eating healthy food and staying active can enhance the quality of life for people of all ages, including those over 65,” said Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “These workshops provide critical information that will promote independence and well-being, and empower seniors to make healthy choices and help them live a long and enriched life.”

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and Hebrew SeniorLife, through their Healthy Living Center of Excellence, will grow the Healthy Eating for Successful Living program within Massachusetts, as well as exploring opportunities to partner and introduce the program in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. Through regional trainings, more than 60 new leaders will be deployed to offer 70 workshops, reaching 1,000 program participants.

The first two-day training took place in Lawrence earlier this month. Participating in the program were trainees who intend to deliver the program in English, Spanish and Chinese.

“As a direct result of the support of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, nutrition education programs are now available in communities not previously served,” said Rosanne DiStefano, Executive Director of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley. “These participants will develop the skills needed to improve their health and lives.”

To find a Healthy Eating for Successful Living program near you, visit the Healthy Living Center of Excellence’s Workshop Schedule: http://www.healthyliving4me.org/workshop-schedule/.

About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation: Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. In 2014, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded nearly $2.9 million in grants to 710 not-for-profit organizations in the region. Since its inception, the Foundation has granted nearly $133 million in funds and resources throughout the four states.

Starting in 2015, the Foundation began expanding its focus on preventing childhood obesity to help families and communities eat healthier by launching the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund. This grants program is aimed at supporting healthy food initiatives that increase access to fresh, healthy, and whenever possible, local food for families and communities in all of Harvard Pilgrim’s markets across the region. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.

About The Healthy Living Center of Excellence: The Massachusetts Healthy Living Center of Excellence (HLCE) is a collaboration between Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley (an aging service access point in Lawrence) and Hebrew SeniorLife (a housing and health care provider for older adults). Over the last five years, the HLCE has grown from a collaborative of a dozen community based organizations simply implementing Chronic Disease Self-Management Education to a 90 member provider network, offering more than 14 wellness, prevention, and disease management programs all aimed at improved health outcomes and increased social engagement. The HLCE network includes a centralized infrastructure capable of acting as a single point of entry for adults of any age in need of nutrition education. This infrastructure is further supported by quality/fidelity monitoring, continuous quality assessment activities, statewide collation meetings, and seven (7) regional networks sharing best practices and maintaining local sensitivities. More information about the HLCE can be found at www.healthyliving4me.org.

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