Welcome! We’d like to introduce you to the Cayuga Center for Healthy
Living (CCHL), a program of Cayuga Medical Center located at the beautiful
Island Health Center on the Cayuga Lake Inlet. CCHL is a vibrant, innovative program
designed to help people with chronic health challenges make productive
lifestyle changes and enhance their ability to live a full and active life.
you want to:
Become more active
Get help managing a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes
Live more healthfully with diabetes
Learn to reduce stress
can help you reach your goal.
What we believe
Issues of stress, diet, exercise, and smoking are key factors in
the development of many serious health problems and account for 75 percent of
all health care costs. With these costs skyrocketing, many Americans are
turning to disease prevention and wellness promotion through lifestyle changes
as the best investment in their health. It’s clear that “disease
care” — going to the doctor and the hospital when you become
ill— is an inadequate approach to health management. And medical
technology, however advanced it may be, cannot address all of our health
Everyone at the Center for Healthy Living is passionate in our
commitment to help you cope more effectively with your existing health
challenges and avoid problems in the future. Our Healthy Lifestyle Program
gives you tools to make those changes that may have proved difficult to make on
your own. We help you to live a healthier life in your environment.
How can we help you?
● Individual and group counseling sessions with our medical
● Classes to help you develop health-enhancing life habits
● Follow-up checks to help you stay on target with your new
● Screenings/referrals when appropriate
with your physician, of chronic illness
Who is on your team?
MD, CCHL director, a sports medicine specialist committed to the
benefits of wellness enhancement.
PT, administrative program director
Henry Gerson, MD, psychiatrist
and stress management specialist
Jamie Balas, health
educator and administrative assistant
Myra Berkowitz, RD, dietitian
Cindy Milner, RD, dietitian
McKeon-Schaerr, clinical RN
Tiffany Bell, RN Bariatric
Lisa Proctor, ACNP
Sue Besemer, medical office
What programs do we offer you?
We help people with disease work on lifestyle change to diminish
the effects, and we look to prevent illness not yet developed. We also support
your doctors in the management of existing chronic illnesses. That is, we work
to give you tools which will help you halt or slow the progression of a chronic
To find out more about specific program offerings, just click on
the links below.
Healthy Living 101
Stress Management Counseling
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention/
Medically Supervised Exercise
Diabetes Education Classes
Smoking Cessation Counseling
What are the benefits?
Change! Certain lifestyle changes are very difficult to make on your
own. We provide education, guidance, and support throughout your program to
help you achieve measurable results. Unlike programs that target only one
aspect of lifestyle, we look at your unique situation and combination of
interrelated risk factors and habits to help you be successful in meeting your
own health challenges.
We’re very excited that Cayuga Medical Center is our
community partner because a collaborative approach to wellness works
best. A collection of people and resources stands a much better chance of
facilitating change than a single idea, person, or technique. That we are all
housed in the same building makes us effective and ready resources for each
other in the service of your health.
Typically programs such as the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living
are only found in major metropolitan areas and are housed in large teaching
hospitals. Through our relationship with the medical center, we can bring these
services to you right here in Tompkins County.
Where are these programs offered?
The Cayuga Center for Healthy Living is on the fifth floor of the
professional building at Island Health Center, 310 Taughannock Boulevard. This
is located at the corner of Route 96 and Route 89 in Ithaca’s West End,
which connects to the beautiful Cass Park Fitness Trail. There is plenty of
parking and it’s free.
We are adjacent to Island Health and Fitness, a state-of-the-art
fitness facility. From its inception, IH&F has partnered with Cayuga
Medical Center’s Department of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine to
advance a holistic approach to healing and wellness. Also on site is Rasa Spa a lovely place to
reduce stress through therapeutic body work. The collaboration of these three
entities with the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living creates a powerful base of
support for the lifestyle changes you wish to make.
Does insurance cover the programs at CCHL?
It varies. Most health insurance does cover your initial visit if
you have a chronic health problem related to one or more of the lifestyle risk
factors. You may need a referral from your physician. People for whom this may
not be covered are young, healthy individuals who have one or more of the risk
factors but have not developed a chronic disease; i.e., a young and healthy
person who is overweight. Self-pay patients are welcome.
How to get started
Most participants are referred by a medical professional, but
self-referrals are also accepted. You may be asked to provide medical records.
You will seen by our nurse practitioner, Shannan Simkin, for an assessment. Ask
your doctor about the Healthy Living Program to see if it’s right for
you, or call (607)252-3590 to schedule an appointment.
Our programs work. Feedback from
people who have come to CCHL for help is very positive. They are making changes for the
better in their lives as they progress to a new level of wellness. You can,
Initial Visit Patient Information Form
Healthy Living 101
Healthy Living 101 is our introductory seminar in
living a healthy lifestyle. This eight-week series of classes introduces you
to: the basic principles of lifestyle modification as an approach to disease
prevention; how lifestyle choices
can help you manage your chronic health problems.
The focus of discussion is on developing stress-coping skills,
achieving a heart-healthy
diet, and developing a regular regimen of exercise and physical
activity. Maintaining a
log book is a required
activity, and participants are encouraged to spend some effort at uncovering
the interrelationships of these topics in their own lives. You will receive a
complimentary manual, lifestyle log book, and an instructional CD.
While insurance generally does not cover this program, it is worth
asking your heath plan or employer’s benefits office. It is a great use
of flex account funds!
This is an innovative eight-week program for children ages 8 to 14
with issues of
obesity. KidFit includes four weeks of nutrition education and
four weeks of working with a trainer to implement an appropriate and manageable
exercise plan. Some, but not all, insurance plans cover this program.
The nutrition component does not promote adherence to a particular
diet; rather it teaches kids the keys for designing and maintaining their own
individual program of healthy eating habits. We provide support as participants
make decisions about food, progressively creating their own healthful eating
plans. Family involvement is critical, so we encourage parents and siblings to
attend weekly nutrition activities. We cover a wide range of topics:
● Maximizing metabolism
● Importance of daily breakfast
● Importance of healthy snacking
● Portion control
● Controlling added fats and sugar
● Stocking a lunch box
● Quick and healthy dinner ideas
● Smart fast food choices
● Reading and understanding food labels
● Dangers of fad diets
By the end of the program, participants and their families will
have learned to implement some basic concepts that will positively impact their
weight and overall health though the course of their lives.
Sign up for KidFit now!
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Cardiac
The Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation
is a lifestyle modification program of supervised exercise, dietary counseling,
stress management, and education about your disease and its medical management.
This program varies in length, up to 36 visits, depending on the nature of your
condition and assistance from your insurance benefits.
Each exercise class is structured to suit individual participants
and your specific needs. The class runs from 30 minutes to an hour and
incorporates cardiovascular machines, hand-held weights, sport-coordination
activities, core stabilization exercises, and stretching.
The education section covers nutrition, medication, understanding
coronary artery disease, the benefits of exercise, reducing risk factors,
managing cardiac emergencies, and psychosocial health.
Admission to this program requires a diagnosed medical condition
of: heart attack, cardiac chest
pain (angina), bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty, valve replacement or
repair, heart or heart-lung transplantation. The diagnosis must have been
determined within the previous 12 months. (*Medicare coverage is limited to the
diagnoses listed above. If you have private insurance, you may wish to contact
your insurer to see if other conditions are covered. Co-pay may be required.)
Medically Supervised Exercise (MSE)
This is for people who have difficulty being active due to a
chronic condition or disability, such as diabetes, obesity with back or joint
pain, intermittent leg pain due to circulation problems (claudication), or
irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation). If you have one of these
conditions, it’s quite likely that you can exercise safely with some help
MSE classes are designed to meet your particular needs. Most classes
incorporate cardiovascular equipment, hand-held weights, functional activities,
and stretching movements. The prerequisite for this program is referral by our
director, Dr. Geoffrey Moore. Many people take MSE concurrently with the
Healthy Living introductory course or the Healthy Nutrition seminar.
The cost for MSE is $70 for eight sessions. While insurance
generally does not cover this program, it is worth asking your heath plan or
employer’s benefits office. It is a great use of flex account funds.
Diabetes Education Classes
This course, which is recognized by the American Diabetes
Association, helps you learn and practice the skills you need to understand and
manage your diabetes. It is a self-management training program held in a series
of three two-hour sessions. To register for our Diabetes Education Classes, you
must be referred either by our director, Dr. Geoffrey Moore, or your physician.
Your instructors are certified diabetes educators: a registered
nurse, a registered dietitian, and a registered pharmacist. Classes provide a
comprehensive overview of diabetes, including such topics as: types and
complications of diabetes, the role of exercise in controlling diabetes,
monitoring, medications, and nutrition.
The cost is $270 for six hours of classes and $43.50 for an
individualized pre-assessment session. Health insurance often covers much of
the cost of this course. We suggest you contact your health plan or
employer’s benefits office for more information.
Smoking Cessation Classes
We all know smoking cessation is a powerful challenge. At the
Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, we can help you. Our eight-session class will
educate you and provide you with needed support so that you can really change
Among the topics we cover are: coping strategies, habit triggers,
barriers to a successful quit, relaxation strategies, the nature of urges,
exercise and weight management when quitting, relapse prevention, and the
benefits of quitting. Imagine being smoke-free: it can happen!
For more information on cost and insurance coverage, call us at
Stress Management Program
survey after survey, Americans today identify stress as their number one health
concern. Stress is
unavoidable, and excessive stress can be detrimental to our health.
In our Stress
Management program, you will receive an introduction to:
● The Relaxation Response - an approach
that has been clinically proven at Harvard University to promote physical and
mental well-being and reverse the effect of stress.
● Healthy lifestyle choices - a plan to
integrate daily relaxation, healthy food choices, and regular exercise in
developing a stress management routine.
● Techniques to identify your individual
stress reactions and approach stressful situations in a way that fosters
learning and improved coping.
● Building a stress-less lifestyle.
information on class schedules and costs, please call (607) 252-3590.
What’s new at the Center for Healthy Living?
New programs are evolving all the time!
Indulgence comprises four to six yearly cooking and nutrition
demonstrations to illustrate ways to make healthy cooking a “want
to,” not a “should,” process. These meals are delicious! Our participating
chefs come from the world-renowned Moosewood Restaurant, as well as our own
executive chef, Jim Durkee.
● Expanded resources
for psychological support, a key aspect of lifestyle change. We’re
excited about being able to balance and strengthen our physical wellness
programming with added effort devoted to mental wellness.
soon to a PC near you: we are working to
institute an interactive website that will allow people to take the Healthy
Living 101 class online. Not only will more people be able to access the class,
but it will be available in a way that works for any schedule, even if you need
to break up your lessons in small bits of time. Watch this web site for more