EmblemHealth Brings Successful SisterTalk Healthy Lifestyle Program to New York

Faith-Based Program Now Tailored to African-American and Black Women in New York City

New York, NY (February 24, 2015) — EmblemHealth, New York’s leading health benefits and wellness company, announced today that it has brought the successful Hartford-based SisterTalk Healthy Lifestyle Program to New York.

SisterTalk New York is a faith-based educational and support program designed specifically for African-American and black women who want to attain a healthier lifestyle and get the tools and motivation they need to lose weight. The program is based on SisterTalk Hartford, a faith-based, healthy-lifestyle program funded by the Donaghue Medical Research Foundation and created from a partnership between UConn Health researchers, Saint Francis Hospital, Brown University and the leadership of twelve African-American and black churches in Hartford, Connecticut.

“EmblemHealth is proud to bring the SisterTalk program to New York to help African-American and black women in the community draw on their faith to create healthy lifestyle changes,” said Michelle Paige, EmblemHealth Director of Community Relations, Programs and Events. “The data show that African-American and black women are at a disproportionate risk of being overweight and obese, which are major factors in the development of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. SisterTalk provides the educational resources, social connections and faith-based motivation to help women of color eat better, lose weight and become more physically active in order to improve the quality of their life.”

The original Hartford program has been updated and tailored to African-American and black women in New York City. UConn Health, in collaboration with EmblemHealth and church leadership in Harlem and Cambria Heights, Queens, reviewed and revised much of the original curriculum to make it appropriate for women in New York City.

Participants in the program meet once a week for 12 weeks at one of six churches in Harlem and Cambria Heights. The program uses a unique blend of science, multimedia tools, sisterhood and faith to help establish healthy habits and positive lifestyle changes. Results from SisterTalk Hartford randomized controlled trial indicate that:

  • African-American and black women who attended at least one SisterTalk Hartford session were 2.6 times more likely to lose weight than those wanting to lose weight, but had not yet begun the program.
  • More than half (55 percent) of the women attending SisterTalk Hartford lost weight and another 8 percent maintained their starting weight, avoiding a weight gain.
  • Of those who lost weight, 66 percent maintained their loss or continued to lose weight up to 10 months after completing the program.

“SisterTalk has had great success in Hartford when it comes to building sustainable, healthy lifestyles among program participants,” said Judith Fifield, Ph.D., program founder and Professor and Director of the Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research into Practice and Policy at UConn Health. “We look forward to a strong, involved collaboration with EmblemHealth to help bring this same level of positive health outcomes to the spiritual communities of New York.”

For more information about SisterTalk, visit http://sistertalkny.uchc.edu

About EmblemHealth
EmblemHealth, Inc., through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), provides quality health care coverage and administrative services to approximately 3.4 million people. Groups and individuals can choose from a variety of PPO, EPO and HMO plans, as well as coverage for prescription drugs and dental and vision care. EmblemHealth offers a choice of networks, including quality doctors and other health care professionals throughout the region, leading acute care hospitals across the tristate area, and physicians and hospitals across all 50 states.

EmblemHealth is also the official sponsor of Small Steps, a citywide initiative to provide access to fitness, health and nutrition classes and other local resources to help New Yorkers take control and manage their health. An enhanced mobile app is available to help set and track goals, search useful tips, find local healthy resources and earn fun badges along the way. Download the app here, available for iOS and Android devices.

For more information, visit emblemhealth.com.

Harris Brandt