OCO Receives $59,605 Grant

Fulton, NY – Oswego County Opportunities is pleased to announce that it has received a three-year grant totaling $59,605 from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to provide nutrition education and healthy foods for residents who have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, high blood pressure or morbid obesity, have a low income and live in northeastern Oswego County.

“Improving the health and health care of the residents of the communities we serve is core to our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Arthur Vercillo, M.D., regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “We’re pleased to support Oswego County Opportunities and its partners in their efforts to expand access to nutrition education and wholesome foods for our neighbors.”

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings Report (2012), 24,311 (21 percent) residents living in Oswego County have limited access to healthy foods.  This is significantly higher than New York State’s average of 4 percent who have limited access to healthy foods and the national benchmark, which is 0 percent.

“People may not realize the strong link that exists between maintaining a healthy diet and reducing your chances of developing many types of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and some forms of cancer,” said Paul A. Forestiere II, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County.   Rural Health Network program coordinator Danielle Wert agreed, sharing “the Healthy Cooking Connection program will help people learn how nutritious food can help them lead a healthier and longer life.”

Funding for the Healthy Cooking Connection program comes from Excellus BCBS’s Community and Member Health Improvement program.  This program provides grants to initiatives that involve numerous community partners, span multiple years, and include specific objectives and measurable outcomes in improving health.

Preference is given to efforts that focus on the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and medication compliance add/or patient safety.