Free help to keep you healthy

There are some things in life we can't control. Fortunately, there are at least four ways to help ensure we lead healthier, longer lives. Cambridge Medical Center (CMC) has teamed up with the Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing to tackle the major controllable factors affecting health and longevity: nutrition, exercise, smoking and alcohol.

The program, Community and Workplace Wellness, is free and open to anyone 18 and older. "The program was designed to help you stay healthy and live longer," said Courtney Baechler, MD, vice president of the Penny George Institute. "We want to give people resources to stay well instead of just treating them when they are ill."

Through the program, participants will get help making healthier choices and finding resources to support those choices. Among the services offered to local residents are personal health risk assessments, health improvement plans and coaching. Participants also receive follow-up from wellness specialists for three years. Even more good news: it's all free.

Get a free screening, make a plan

You can learn about your current state of health with a free 30-minute Healthy Communities Partnership screening at CMC. Screenings include:

  • blood sugar and cholesterol level checks
  • body mass index (BMI) testing
  • blood pressure and pulse reading.

At the screening, your confidential health information and screening results will be entered into an online tool, MyAccount. If you've recently had a blood test, you can bring your results to the screening.

After your information has been entered, you will receive a health score and meet with a wellness specialist who will help you create a plan to improve your health.

The wellness specialist at CMC may also refer you to clinic programs or other resources in the community, such as exercise, health, nutrition and stress relief programs that could help you reach your goals.

Wellness coaching

For some, making changes to improve their health may seem challenging. Nicole Klanderud, community engagement manager at CMC, pointed out that you can get started with some simple tweaks to your daily routine.

"Our wellness coaches will offer tips on how to become more active, such as parking farther away," she said. "These simple ideas will start the process and hopefully people will continue to gain motivation and do even more."

"It's never too late to start, even at midlife, for people diagnosed with chronic disease," added Baechler. "You can add a decade to your life. You can also prevent pain and illness, feel better and spend less money on health care," she said.

Remember, you're not alone. After your initial health improvement plan is established, you'll receive online guidance and free annual screenings for three years. This way you'll know how you're doing.

"The improvements in people's lives will be monitored during this follow-up period to gauge how well the coaching and health interventions are working," noted Klanderud.

Entire community is invited

Anyone 18 and older is invited to participate, whether or not you are a patient at an Allina Health clinic. Groups of any kind, such as companies, families and teams, are encouraged to join.

"The more people who participate, the more we can improve the community's health," said Baechler.

The Penny George Institute, part of Allina Health, now includes wellness in its mission and is offering this program in 13 communities.

"The goal is to screen at least 500 people each year," noted Klanderud. "We've done a lot of planning and hiring and can't wait to hit the road and help make a positive impact in our community."

rob konen
The 3rd Annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Summit was held in January for almost 400 8th grade students from Cambridge-Isanti Middle Schools. Cambridge Medical Center participated in the event, and Rob Konen, CMC pharmacist, talked with kids about what career path they would need to take to work in a pharmacy.
billie jean asmussen
Billie Jean Asmussen, with CMC Radiology, speaks with students at the STEM summit about X-ray and how it works.