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New Ulm Medical Center

The Heart of New Ulm Project: turning lives around

Sue Hogen is just one of many people who have turned their health around, thanks to the Heart of New Ulm Project.

New Ulm resident Sue Hogen was not in bad shape. But as she got closer and closer to her 60th birthday, she knew it was time to make some changes in her routine to improve her health.

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Time spent on the elliptical machine at the New Ulm Family Recreation Center is just part of Sue Hogen’s new regimen since attending a Hearts Beat Back: the Heart of New Ulm Project free screening and deciding it was time to take better care of her health.

When the New Ulm Medical Center began doing heart health screenings and other heart health initiatives as part of Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project (HONU) in 2009, it proved to be just the wake-up call that Sue needed to give her health regimen a kick-start.

“I went in for one of the free heart health screenings, and my results weren’t good,” she said. “I was overweight, and my cholesterol was too high as well.”

Turning Things Around

Sue didn’t plan to spend her retirement years in poor health, so she decided to look at the results of the heart health screening as a personal challenge. Taking advantage of the other opportunities offered by the Heart of New Ulm Project, she began to attend sponsored events and monitor her weight and blood pressure at the free Heart Health Stations at various locations around town.

From her initial screening results, Sue was also identified as someone who would benefit from health coaching through the HeartBeat Connections (HBC) program. When a health coach contacted her, she agreed to take advantage of the program. Through HBC, she received personalized coaching over the phone once a month from a HONU dietitian.

Through the New Ulm Medical Center (where Sue works as a volunteer), she joined a Weight Watchers program to begin to get a handle on her eating habits and weight. She also purchased a membership to the New Ulm Recreation Center and began attending regularly. “My favorite is the ‘Fit Forever Fusion’ class, which I go to every Tuesday and Thursday,” she said.

Gradual Steps in the Right Direction

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Checking her blood pressure, and tracking it, at the Heart Health Station is part of a routine stop at the New Ulm Family Recreation Center for Sue Hogen.

Over the past two years, Sue has been slow and steady in her dedication to her new eating habits and fitness routine. She has achieved real results that have greatly improved her health and well-being.

“I’ve lost 40 pounds over the last two years,” she said. “I plan to continue on the programs, as I have another 10 pounds to lose to get to my goal weight.”

Sue participated in another heart screening as part of the Heart of New Ulm Project this year, which indicated the positive changes to her health. Her one disappointment is that her cholesterol did not go down like she expected. She may need medication to help lower her cholesterol and will be talking further with her doctor.

Despite this setback, however, Sue’s journey to good health has been a great experience for her and her family. “My husband and I are both retired, so these changes have given us the energy to do all the activities we want to do in the community. We do a lot of volunteer work, so this has been great for us!”

For more about the Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project, visit or call 507-233-1945.