One person can make a difference. After attending a CHIP wellness program facilitator training workshop in Rockford, Illinois 2009, insurance consultant, Tom Kostohryz decided his home town of Athens, Ohio needed a health transformation.
Back home, Tom formed a steering committee to organize the first annual Live Healthy Appalachia Summit, and the grassroots effort took off. Community-wide collaborative partnerships including the City of Athens, Athens County Commissioners, Athens County Health Department, Athens City and County Schools, and Ohio University College of Health Sciences made the first annual Live Healthy Appalachia (www.livehealthyapppalachia.org) a huge success. The Summit had three breakout sessions – one focusing on how to reduce employers’ healthcare cost s and have a healthier workforce, a session for health care professionals discussing caring for those with chronic illness and how to integrate lifestyle medicine into their practice, and one for clergy and social service agencies to learn how to empower communities towards healthy living.
Speakers came from throughout the country including Dr. Hans Diehl, founder of CHIP and Dr. Roger Greenlaw, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford and lifestyle medicine consultant.
Over 700 people from across the state and beyond attended the summit and learned how to implement healthier lifestyles to improve the health of communities. More sessions are planned for the future, and the Fall CHIP wellness class (www.chiphealth.com) is already sold out. “Without a healthy population, a community cannot be healthy” said Athens mayor Paul Wiehl.
Tom feels their movement is gaining momentum in their community and is happy to have CHIP as a cornerstone initiative in their program. He stated that “as we grow, our CHIP Alumni Association will help change the culture of Appalachia, just as CHIP has changed the culture of Rockford.”