2nd Annual HEAL Week

2nd Annual HEAL Week

In April, more than 500 participants joined the Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) to celebrate the 2nd annual HEAL Week (Healthy Eating & Active Living). HEAL Week was established in 2016 to raise awareness for the importance of healthy eating and active living in preventing disease, to provide continuing education to healthcare providers in the areas of nutrition and obesity, and to celebrate IHL partners dedicated to increasing healthy eating and active living in the Paso del Norte region. Four major events made up the 2017 HEAL Week, including the HEAL Alliance Kick-Off, HEAL Celebrate Reception, HEAL U: Obesity Mini Course, and HEAL Unite: Community Wellness Fair.


IHL staff and UTEP student volunteers, Saturday, April 8, 2017, HEAL Unite: Community Wellness Fair held at the UTEP Student Recreation Center.

The HEAL Alliance Kick-Off was the launch of the new HEAL Alliance, a collective of coalitions, councils, task forces, and working groups focused on nutrition and physical activity in the region. Groups include, but are not limited to, County Trail Task Force, Food Policy Council, Border Coalition for Fitness and the Regional School Lunch Coalition. Some groups have been in existence for many years, while others are newly formed with leadership from the IHL. The purpose of the Alliance is to coordinate the work of these multiple organizations to help make healthy eating and active living the easy choice in the Paso del Norte region.


Dr. Leah Whigham, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, HEAL Alliance Kick-Off held at the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Dr. Michael Kelly discussing the Playa Drain Trail project, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, HEAL Alliance Kick-Off held at the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

HEAL Celebrate was a reception hosted to highlight the work of the IHL and its many partners over the last year. Dr. Diana Natalicio, UTEP President, and Tracy Yellen, Paso del Norte Health Foundation CEO, addressed the value of community partnerships to tackle a range of complex issues from food insecurity to diabetes that are at the center of the IHL’s work. Bruce Parsons, Assistant Health Director, City of El Paso and IHL Executive Council Member, concluded the reception by presenting the first annual HEAL Hero award to the Physical Fitness in the Golden Age program for its impact on physical activity in the region and long-term sustainability. Dr. Sandor Dorgo, director of the program and Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at UTEP, along with several of his staff and program participants, were there to receive the award. The Golden Age fitness program started over 11 years ago with seed funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and in-kind support from UTEP. Now fully self-sustaining, the program supports adults 55 years of age and older through a comprehensive fitness program that aims to improve overall health and functional ability, and maintain independent living and mobility with support from program supervisors and Kinesiology undergraduate students. Over 800 adults have participated and 1,500 students have received training in the program since it began.


Heal Celebrate Reception, Friday, April 7, 2017, held at the El Paso Club. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

HEAL U: Obesity Mini Course was a continuing education opportunity for health care providers. Over 120 professionals from the region participated in a free training opportunity led by top physicians and scientists in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity. Among the speakers were members of the IHL Scientific Advisory Board who are nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their fields of expertise. These presentations were complimented by a mock patient consult and a patient panel, where providers learned how to help patients with weight management, nutrition, and physical activity. Physician, nursing, dietitian, and public health professional continuing education credits were available.


Heal U: Obesity Mini Course, Saturday, April 8, 2017, held at the UTEP College of Health Science and Nursing Building. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

Finally, the HEAL Unite: Community Wellness Fair was a family-friendly event open to the public and held at the UTEP Student Recreation Center. Over 200 community members attended. The primary purpose of this event was to provide IHL community partners an opportunity to showcase their programs and projects related to HEAL. In addition, free health screenings were available to attendees and included body composition analysis, blood pressure checks, blood glucose testing, and VEGGIE METERTM assessment. Additional partners at the event offered UTEP Student Recreation Center tours, massages, bike rides, child id card printing, healthy food samples, games, bounce houses, music, a free raffle drawing, and more. The Hospitals of Providence partnered with the IHL to support this event.


HL Partner, Lowe’s Market-Food King, provided 300 fresh fruit bowls, apples, oranges and water to attendees, Saturday, April 8, 2017, HEAL Unite: Community Wellness Fair held at the UTEP Student Recreation Center. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

The Institute for Healthy Living would like to thank these partners for their support:

  • Paso del Norte Health Foundation
  • The University of Texas El Paso
  • The Hospitals of Providence
  • Collegiate Physicians and Researchers
  • Students for Public Health
  • Health Promotion Student Association
  • DK Karaoke & DJ Services
  • Superior Jump Bounce Houses
  • MedPost
  • Costco
  • Craze
  • Unknot Thai Spa
  • NOSH
  • PUR Cold-pressed Juice
  • EP Dentistry 4-Kids
  • Sun Cycle El Paso Bike Share
  • Franklin Mountains State Park
  • El Paso True Food
  • Lowe’s Market- Food King
  • Desert Sol Massage & Bodywork
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • H&R Block
  • Desert Sun Chiropractic
  • Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service-Expanded Food & Nutrition Program
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
  • Smallcakes
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Contact the Center for Community Health Impact | 915-975-8527 | Erica.Martinez@uth.tmc.edu