CRI LEP at Urban Health Plan in the South Bronx, NY

South Bronx, NY, is one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, thirty-eight percent of residents live below the poverty line. Eighteen percent of residents have diabetes, 64 percent of residents are overweight, and 24 percent of residents are obese.¹ The South Bronx also has one of the highest asthma rates in the nation.²


In 2007, Canyon Ranch Institute pledged 10 scholarships for UHP health and wellness professionals to attend the Canyon Ranch Life Enhancement Program (LEP) in Tucson, AZ. After completing the week-long Canyon Ranch LEP, UHP professionals shared their feedback with Canyon Ranch Institute. They were passionate and confident that the best practices of Canyon Ranch could be translated in a culturally competent manner to the UHP patient population through the establishment of a Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) at UHP. This launched the development of the first CRI LEP in the nation.

To date, over 200 UHP patients have participated in the CRI LEP and more are continually experiencing the integrative health program. Due to the success and popularity of the program, which is taught in both Spanish and English, many UHP patients are referred by UHP primary care physicians, nutritionists, and physical therapists to participate in the CRI LEP in order to improve their health status.

Located in the South Bronx, Urban Health Plan (UHP) is recognized as a premier federally qualified health center, serving over 60,000 patients. UHP’s mission is to continuously improve the health status of underserved communities by providing affordable, comprehensive, and high quality primary and specialty medical care and by assuring the performance and advancement of innovative best practices.

How We’re Making a Difference

CRI LEP at UHP classes are held at UHP’s Simpson Pavilion and at the Urban Health Plan Centro de Salud y Bienestar en Cooperación con Canyon Ranch Institute (UHP Center for Health and Wellness in Partnership with Canyon Ranch Institute) on Southern Boulevard. The center, dedicated by Canyon Ranch Institute President Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, in October 2009, includes state-of-the-art exercise equipment and space for meditation, relaxation, and yoga. After completing the program, UHP continues to support program participants in maintaining healthy lifestyle changes. Many program participants access the Health and Wellness Center under the guidance of the UHP fitness trainer after they complete their CRI LEP experience in order to continue their exercise and stress management practices. Program participants also help organize and join CRI LEP group reunions to encourage and support each other with their goals, UHP-sponsored trips to local farmers’ markets, health education meetings, special events, and group outings to local attractions, like the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.


Canyon Ranch Institute evaluates the CRI LEP’s effectiveness across the entire scope of our integrative model of health. We measure the impact of addressing health literacy in regard to participants’ changes in nutrition, physical activity, physical health, knowledge, stress, and attitudes. Results from the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program indicate participants experience a number of significant and positive healthy changes. Data reveal participants adopted healthier behaviors, lost weight, are less depressed, know more about health, lowered their blood pressure, increased ability to manage stress and pain, and make healthier food and portion choices.

Specifically after completing the CRI LEP at UHP, participants report experiencing a number of healthy changes, including socializing more, exercising at home, feeling less pain, increased ability to manage stress, relaxing and meditating, eating healthier foods and healthier portions, and feeling less depressed.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 2007.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available here.