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Healthy Communities Partnership

  • Free health classes and screening events, plus a community-wide focus on key local health issues - these activities are part of a three-year program designed to keep you healthy. Known as the Healthy Communities Partnership, it is sponsored by Buffalo Hospital and the Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing.

    Nearly 600 people participated in the health screening events that started in September 2012. Many of them are working with health coaches, free of charge, on issues revealed by the screenings. Some are attending free, evidence-based classes offered at various times this spring and next fall.

    "Some classes are at Buffalo Hospital and some meet in community centers and other locations," said Mona Volden, manager of Community Engagement and Wellness. "People are encouraged to take classes at the health screening events, and some are referred by their doctors. But all classes are open to the entire community."


    Dassel man’s health screening changed his life

    Have you heard about the free health screenings being offered by Buffalo Hospital as part of the Healthy Communities Partnership program? Did you think, "I don't need that?" Richard Tormanen's story might make you think again. Tormanen, 70, lives in Dassel and serves on the Cokato Manor board of directors. Last October, board members were offered free health screenings. Tormanen felt fine but hadn't had a checkup in five years, so he and his wife, Anne, got screened.

    Eye-opening results

    "When the nurse walked in with my results, I knew I was in trouble," Tormanen said. "My blood glucose showed that I was in full-blown diabetes, and the high end of my blood pressure reading was 174." Tormanen followed advice at the screening to make a doctor's appointment immediately. Even before he saw the doctor and started some medicines, he began exercising and eating differently. He also attended classes and did his own research on type 2 diabetes. "My wife had bugged me to go walking, but I never did," he said. "Now we take a 2.5 mile walk at least five times a week. I had a healthy diet before, but I switched from fruit juice to tomato. We also avoid high-fructose corn syrup and processed foods."

    Lifestyle changes

    Tormanen even started making "super muffins," made with coconut flour and chia seeds, and smoothies made with yogurt, almond milk and whole fruits. By January, his blood sugar and blood pressure readings were normal and he dropped below 200 pounds for the first time in many years. One of Tormanen's five sons, who is a nurse, told him how fortunate he was to learn about the diabetes and blood pressure problems before suffering a health crisis. "I am totally thankful; this was a blessing," Tormanen said. "Everyone should take advantage of health screenings."