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Berkshire Health Systems

With significant numbers of low-income and uninsured or under-insured residents, Berkshire County, MA, faces many health challenges that affect its citizens’ overall health, wellness, productivity, and quality of life. Canyon Ranch Institute and Berkshire Health Systems partnered in 2013 to help empower residents of Berkshire County to lead healthier lives. Berkshire Health Systems is now sponsoring three Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program sites across the county.

BACKGROUND

Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) is a private, not-for-profit organization serving the Berkshires region through a network of affiliates, including Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital, and the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center. Deeply integrated across the entire county, BHS’s award-winning medical programs and staff are complemented by additional quality BHS offerings that meet broader community needs, such as employee wellness programs, literacy promotion, and language services.

In 2013, Canyon Ranch Institute and BHS partnered to develop a a Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) for residents of Berkshire County and the patients served by BHS. The BHS-CRI LEP has now been established at three sites: the first in Pittsfield at Berkshire Medical Center, and the second in Great Barrington at Fairview Hospital, and a third at the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center.

The BHS-CRI LEP aims to prevent chronic disease by advancing health literacy, and improving nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and life balance through an integrative approach to health and wellness. As individuals learn to make healthier choices, they often share their healthy choices and knowledge with their friends, families, and community.

How We’re Making a Difference

Since the program began, more than 100 people have taken part in the BHS-CRI LEP. Graduates participate in regular in-person and online support activities hosted by BHS. In addition, BHS intends for the knowledge, skills and experience gained through the CRI LEP to influence how BHS delivers overall healthcare and programming.

Results indicate that BHS-CRI LEP participants experience a number of health changes. Among the improvements are adopting healthier behaviors, losing weight, improving their strength, feeling less depressed, knowing more about health, lowering blood pressure, increasing the ability to manage stress and pain, and making healthier food and portion choices, and engaging more with their community.

To learn more about Berkshire Health Systems, visit www.berkshirehealthsystems.org.