In Rockford and surrounding communities, levels of obesity, smoking, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are higher than state and national averages. In response to these challenges, SwedishAmerican Health System and the YMCA of Rock River Valley are joining forces to improve the health of the greater Rockford community.
BetterLife Wellness, a new SwedishAmerican medical wellness center, will be established within the I.D. Pennock Family YMCA at 200 Y Blvd., in downtown Rockford. When the center opens in early 2014, it will offer a variety of services, including the following:
•Wellness educational programs, classes and support groups;
• Screenings and health risk assessments;
• Personal health coaching;
• Weight management services;
• Nutrition and healthy cooking classes;
• Freedom from smoking classes; and
• Preventive health services (flu shots and immunizations).
“SwedishAmerican’s decision to establish BetterLife is a reflection of our long-standing commitment to the health of this community,” said SwedishAmerican President and CEO Dr. Bill Gorski. “Partnering with the YMCA makes perfect sense because our organizations’ missions are closely aligned in the areas of health and wellness.”
YMCA CEO Mike Brown said: “Being healthy means more than simply being physically active. It’s about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind and body. Our partnership with SwedishAmerican to create BetterLife Wellness will help us achieve the goal of building a healthier community. We know that when we work as one, we move people and communities forward.”
Dr. Kathleen Kelly, SwedishAmerican’s chief medical officer, added: “BetterLife will provide services to people of all ages and fitness levels. Our center will accommodate all levels of physical abilities and limitations, providing a ‘head-to-toe’ approach that helps participants identify and engage in individualized health improvement efforts while measuring their progress.”
In addition to BetterLife Wellness, SwedishAmerican and the YMCA will offer integrated programming in other areas, including corporate wellness. Pam Lunde, corporate relations coordinator for the Y, said: “Offering the additional services of BetterLife Wellness will give our corporate partners an opportunity to bring employee health and well-being to the next level. Together, we can have a meaningful impact in our business community.”
Collaborative efforts between SwedishAmerican and the YMCA have been in place for many years. In 2007, SwedishAmerican established the Orthopedic & Sports Therapy Center, which offers physical therapy for rehabilitation after injury, illness and surgery within the YMCA’s Northeast Branch. SwedishAmerican physicians also provide periodic educational talks to YMCA members on an ongoing basis.
From the Nov. 20-26, 2013, issue