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This Saturday, the Welsh Mountain Health Centers, in partnership with Aetna Better Health, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, and Penn State Reach will launch S.T.A.M.P.E.D.E., which stands for Stick Together and Make Progress to End Diabetes Everywhere. S.T.A.M.P.E.D.E. is a collaborative diabetes prevention and management program that helps promote healthy living, physical activity and weight management in the local communities in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.

The program kicks off tomorrow with an inaugural celebration from 10:00am until 2:00pm at the Welsh Mountain Lebanon Community Health Center. This “block party” style event will feature music and healthy food, as well as a preview of the program, including cooking and exercise demonstrations.

“Lebanon Community Health Center, part of WMHC who serves about 9,000 patients in the Lebanon area is very excited to be a partner in this pilot with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Aetna, Penn State REACH and PACHC,” says Jackie Concepcion, CEO of WMHC. “It is through partnerships like these where communities come together to address barriers that prevent people from becoming healthier. We are committed to the success of this program and have put together a fantastic team of providers, registered dietician, licensed behavior health counselors and a very energetic team to make this project a success.”

S.T.A.M.P.E.D.E. is a year-long pilot program that will serve 100 local Lebanon county residents living with diabetes and food insecurity. Bi-weekly sessions will incorporate diabetes education ranging from food preparation and stress management to creative ways to become physically active. Participants will also receive foot exams, A1C screenings, and a box of healthy foods at the sessions. This will be particularly helpful to residents of Lebanon City, as this area is a food desert, with limited access to healthy foods.

“Our Team at Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is so excited to partner with the Welsh Mountain Health Center, Aetna, and Penn State Health. We all know how important eating healthy is to maintain good health, but for our neighbors that are struggling financially, nutritious food is often out of reach. With S.T.A.M.P.E.D.E, we aim to remove those obstacles by providing “Food As Medicine,” says Joe Arthur, Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

Cheri Rinehart, President & CEO of Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers says, “Welsh Mountain Health Centers’ S.T.A.M.P.E.D.E. initiative highlights many of the qualities that I love about community health centers – a strong focus on meeting the needs of the patients and communities they serve, a commitment to quality, valuing partnership and collaboration, understanding how critical patient engagement is to success, and openness to innovation. Perhaps the best part of health center initiatives is that because of the willingness of the state’s and nation’s network of community health centers to share successes, challenges and lessons learned with one another, the opportunity for many people to benefit becomes exponential.”

“The word STAMPEDE, as an acronym for this project shows, the importance of people working together, heading the same direction. While each participant’s goal may be unique, we are all aiming at the same target which is beating diabetes,” adds Kate Millay, Chief Quality Officer at WMHC. “The same is true for the sponsoring organizations. While the details of our missions, visions, values, and operations are unique, our commitment and goal are the same: to Stick Together And Make Progress Eliminating Diabetes Everywhere… for now, in Lebanon. But it doesn’t end here. Let’s make it a national, maybe a worldwide STAMPEDE!”