Harris Regional Hospital celebrates record participation in annual family wellness program

July 15, 2016

SYLVA – Harris Regional Hospital is celebrating record participation in its annual free family wellness program known as ‘Blast Off!’ in partnership with the Jackson County Health Department and Western Carolina University. The program, coordinated by the hospital’s health management department, is focused on providing families with tools to build nutrition and physical activity habits to stay healthy and prevent chronic health conditions.

“We were excited to welcome eight Jackson County families to Blast Off! this year. There were 30 to 40 participants at each Blast Off! event which demonstrates an incredible commitment to great health in our community,” said Melanie Batchelor, health management and wellness coordinator for Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. Blast Off! began four years ago. The four-week program features activities such as building a healthy plate, a grocery store tour, cooking class, greenway walk, games at Cullowhee Recreation Park, an obstacle course at WCU’s football stadium, and a pool party.

Jackson County’s most recent Community Health Assessment (CHA) identified physical activity and nutrition, injury and substance abuse prevention, and chronic disease as the top three health priorities for the county. The prevalence of pre-diabetes in Jackson County is almost double the national rate and adult diabetes (20 and over) in the county is higher than in other areas in western North Carolina, according to CHA data. The assessment also indicates opportunities to improve healthy weight scores as measured by body mass index (BMI).

“Programs like Blast Off! are how our hospitals deliver on our mission of Making Communities Healthier,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital. “By focusing on the priorities identified by the Community Health Assessment we can customize programming that is effective and also fun. We congratulate those who participated in Blast Off! for the impressive enthusiasm they exhibited in  taking control of their personal health, serving as a model for us all.”

Community partners included WCU’s Nutrition Program, WCU’s football team, Jackson County Health Department, and the Roscoe Poteet Swimming Pool (Sylva Pool). For information on health management programs at Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital call (828) 586-7734.

About Harris Regional Hospital & Swain Community Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital, established in 1925, is an 86-bed acute and specialty care facility serving Western North Carolina with more than 100 physicians practicing in locations throughout a multi-county region, including Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park of Franklin, an outpatient facility in Macon County.

Swain Community Hospital, established in 1950, is a 48-bed Critical Access Hospital serving a multi-county region with primary care, emergency medicine and subspecialty care including a pain clinic and a transitional care unit. Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital began an affiliation in 1997 and joined Duke LifePoint Healthcare in 2014.

Our Mission: Making Communities Healthier

Our Vision: Creating places people choose to come for healthcare, physicians want to practice, and employees want to work.

About Duke LifePoint Healthcare

Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture of Duke University Health System, Inc. and LifePoint Health® (NASDAQ: LPNT), was established to build a dynamic network of hospitals and healthcare providers. The joint venture, which brings together LifePoint's experience in community-based hospital management and Duke's world-renowned leadership in patient safety and clinical quality systems, is strengthening and improving healthcare delivery by providing community hospitals the clinical, quality and operational resources they need to grow and prosper.