Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh PRC adapted the Look AHEAD program into an evidence-based weight management intervention called the Mobility and Vitality Lifestyle Program (MOVE UP) and implemented it in community settings. The Look AHEAD clinical trial, a weight loss and physical activity intervention, was highly effective in preventing disability in people with type 2 diabetes. MOVE UP participants included men and women ages 60-75 with a BMI between 27-45 kg/m2. The goal was to implement MOVE UP in approximately 26 sites in Allegheny County. Participants were recruited using recommendations from sites, newsletters or newsletter announcements, presentations at membership gatherings, targeted mailings to membership, and mailings to the population surrounding the site. MOVE UP programs were led by trained community health workers who were connected to their respective community site. The curriculum focused on key lessons around diet/nutrition and physical activity. An assessment of participants’ dietary intake and physical function was conducted at baseline, 5, 9, and 13 months using standard questionnaires and measures. Participants attended weekly group sessions during the first 5 months, twice a month for the next 4 months, and monthly for the final 4 months. Participants were given curriculum handouts at each session and received information on calorie control, nutrition, physical activity and exercise, as well as safety. For diet, participants were encouraged to consume 30% fewer calories from fat while maintaining an adequate protein intake. For physical activity, they were encouraged to achieve an initial physical activity goal of 50 minutes/week and safely increase to 175 minutes/week. Researchers conducted an evaluation that informs the development of strategies for sustainability considering the cost of the program, organizational capacity, and program adaptation to inform future dissemination.

Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers (CHWs) are integral to the success of MOVE UP. These compassionate and dynamic leaders have diverse backgrounds and skill sets. They work in the community coaching others how to modify their behaviors for a healthier lifestyle. Meet our CHWs below as we highlight our partners, the things they like about Pittsburgh and what motivates them as a CHW.

C.C. Mellor Memorial Library of Edgewood - Annie Bontempo

My favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh is walk around the Highland Park reservoir.

I wanted to be a CHW to create a community space that facilitates healthy and lasting lifestyle changes. And it sounded fun!

Sampson Family YMCA - Coleen Bortz

I was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is home to me. And I raised both my boys here. So Pittsburgh is family to me…….And Sidney Crosby of course! Go Pens!!!   

I had a lot of fun leading the MOVE UP Program. The handouts were full of suggestions and great information to help the participants succeed.  I really had a great group. Looking back, I would say, watching so many of the participants reach and now maintaining their goals is pretty awesome.

Matilda Theiss Family Health Clinic - Amanda Budzowski

I love that Pittsburgh is a community oriented city and that our neighbors are always there to extend a hand to one another. What I love most about the city is the open access for all to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. From the Three Rivers Heritage Trail,  Shenley Park, and many others, we have open access to beautiful trails and breathtaking views of the city.
I love being a CHW because health is our most precious gift, especially as we age. The ability to help others maintain their quality of life and their health is rewarding. The participants in the MOVE UP program learn how to take steps towards their personal health goals, but they also learn the skills to help others in their homes and communities as well.  It’s really moving to see how the groups bond with one another and the deep friendships that are formed while supporting one another to reach their personal goals. I always leave a MOVE UP session feeling inspired and grateful to share the journey with the group.

Sewickley Public Library and Vanadium Woods Village - Clair Cranville

My favorite place is Mount Washington with its spectacular view of downtown Pittsburgh, the rivers and the surrounding neighborhoods.

As a CHW, I appreciate the opportunity to help seniors improve their overall health and well-being with a more healthy lifestyle by changing their eating and activity behaviors. I look forward to the weekly meetings with our good fellowship, often lively discussion, and sense of ‘community’, as our MOVE UP group shares common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Bible Center Church - Paula Day and Elizabeth Groce

“I think the people that were involved and the fact that they wanted to be involved and they enjoyed each other’s company, and they were basically encouragers in their own right. And they would support each other. And the fact that they want to continue, you know, meetings. Just the fact that it is something that most women are always caring for someone else, this was a time that they saw that they were caring for themselves. And other people were applauding that and I think that was a definite benefit. It’s an ego booster for women, they don’t get a whole lot of them in life sometimes.” – Paula

Holy Sepulcher Church of Butler and Bellefield Professional Building of Oakland - Theresa A. Eury, BS, CHES

Favorites in Pittsburgh: PNC Park on a warm summer evening, the beautiful historic train stations, the coasters and merry-go-round at Kennywood. My favorites in North Pittsburgh: all of the access to farm fresh food, walking in Adams Twp. Park, outdoor dining/music at Narcisi Winery on a warm Sunday afternoon, Mars Annual Applefest

I have worked most of my years with intervention research projects at Pitt (Epidemiology) and VA (CHERP) (20+) and volunteered with veterans and other adult populations to motivate for healthy changes. I have a passion for guiding/involvement with folks to make even small changes for a healthier life. MOVE UP has given me the opportunity to explore/utilize my “inner health coach.” Assisting small groups or even one person to make healthy lifestyle changes is extremely rewarding! I am now leading a second MOVE UP group; all the participants have been wonderful to work with, and it is a privilege to be on this health journey with them.

Thelma Lovette YMCA - Meta B. Hord

My favorite places in Pittsburgh are probably the North Shore and Schenley park. Walking along the river (between town and the stadium) is such a beautiful site! I also love the Oakland area and Schenley park.

There are honestly so many reasons why I really enjoy being a CHW. I’d say the main reason is because of the positive effect the program I am delivering has on the participants. They’ve expressed to me on numerous occasions how transformed they are becoming from the program and it is such an amazing feeling knowing you played such a role. Also, for personal and professional/career-related reasons I have found being a CHW in the MOVE UP study to be extremely beneficial.

Passavant Hospital Foundation and Turtle Creek Senior Center - Jen King

I fell in love with Pittsburgh when I became a student at Pitt over 40 years ago and moved to this little city with the small town feel. I love the eclectic neighborhoods and the diversity of the people.  I’m especially fond of the cultural center, the arts, the theaters, and that Pittsburgh has become such a “foodie” town with its broad range of restaurants.  I am awed by the beauty of the bridges, the rivers that run through it, and the views from Mt. Washington and the West End.
I have learned so much about myself from being a CHW and I have been amazed by the kindness, knowledge, and strength of our participants. I have truly enjoyed watching them bond, the empathy they give to each other, and the lifelong friendships that have been formed. I have done many things throughout my career, but I can honestly say that being a CHW has given me the most rewarding experience.

North Boroughs YMCA - Maureen Klacik

Favorite thing/part about Pittsburgh – It’s the ‘Big Little City’ – Small town feel, with the Big City mindset!!!

The best part of being a MOVE UP Community Health Worker, educating the participants to learn, and continue to learn to live a Healthy Lifestyle that will be a part of the rest of their life.

Longwood at Oakmont Retirement Community - Jason Klein

My favorite place in Pittsburgh is PNC Park because there is nothing like a summer evening to watch baseball.

I like being a CHW because I want to help people be their best mentally, physically, and spiritually. As the saying goes, “live long, die short.”

Lutheran Service Society (Bellevue) - Patricia Pacey

Favorite thing about Pittsburgh: Well, where do I start? Love the City and what it has to offer ie Arts etc.
Beautiful downtown
Close to Canada/New York
Easy connection to Airport
Motivation as a CHW : Well, for me it was coming full circle.  I had been with The Diet Center Inc as Director of Training for years. When approached to be a CHW I was trainer for SilverSneakers at LSS for many years. Felt this program would work very well with my clients at LSS.

Homewood-Brushton YMCA - Bridget Parker

As a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, my favorite place is their campus because it provides me a place of comfort to reflect in the park, try a variety of foods and exercise with my dogs.

My passion in life is to improve people’s lives who suffer from health disparities that can be mitigated through education and physical activity. MOVE UP has helped me to live out my dream while also developing lasting relationships with the participants.

Phipps Garden Center (Shadyside) - Lisa Pilewski

My favorite place in Pittsburgh is PNC Park because I love the atmosphere of the park, I love the Bucs, and I enjoy the memories of taking my family there for many special events since 2001.

I am so delighted to have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Life is a gift and we need to take care of ourselves. Then, we can properly care for others.

Riverview Community Action Corporation (RCAC) Oakmont - Elaine Pruitt

My favorite place in Pittsburgh is the Strip District. There is so much cultural diversity and I can have food from all over the world!

The success of my participants motivates me the most. How they’ve made it [MOVE UP] a part of their life and how they value it.

North Hills Community Outreach - Emily Shimko

I liked the sense of inclusiveness that Move Up offers. I know we were delivering sound, evidence-based material to the participants, but perhaps even more importantly we were providing the social support and confidence to be successful with a lifestyle change. Although I was responsible for facilitating the group and educating the participants, I felt like I also learned a lot from them.

Aging Institute - Holly Sloan

I like that Pittsburgh is small, and it’s pretty likely to have common connections among friends and acquaintances.  I also love that we have so many parks like Frick and Schenley where we can be on a path in the woods within the city.
I have an education in health and physical activity and a background in health coaching.   Guiding people to their own solutions for how to make positive lifestyle changes is very fulfilling.
Every day that I’ve instructed a class, I’ve felt uplifted for the rest of the day.  Watching the group develop a bond over time and help each other by sharing how-to’s and encouragement is a wonderful thing to witness.

Lutheran Service Society (Bellevue) - Holly Vazzo

What I like about Pittsburgh is the vast ethnic diversity.  Being a CHW, I got to learn many interesting tidbits about others and where they grew up.  It was a great opportunity not only to meet new people but also to hear about their life experiences.  Throughout the MOVE UP program, we all were able to teach each other and learn from each other.  It was a very rich experience.

First Baptist Church of West Mifflin - Reverend A. Marie Walker

My two favorite places are my home church because of the fellowship of worship at my church and Mt. Washington because of the beautiful view of Pittsburgh.

I want to be a vehicle to help others my age focus on their health so that our lives can
continue to be productive.

Kingsley Association - Nina Wilson

My favorite place in Pittsburgh is at my home, with my two lovely dogs, creatively entertaining special guests.

These are words from my heart. I love being a CHW for MOVE UP because it’s nurturing to my soul. Knowing that I am making an impact on people’s lives by providing them with the proper tools to adapt a healthy active lifestyle makes my spirit very happy.

Nina Wilson lead two separate groups at Kingsley Association during her time as a MOVE UP CHW

Lutheran Service Society (Bellevue)

Lutheran Service Society
440 Lincoln Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
Phone: (412) 734-9330

Homewood-Brushton YMCA

Homewood-Brushton YMCA
7140 Bennett Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
Phone: (412) 243-2900

Thelma Lovette YMCA

C2 Thelma Lovette YMCA
2114 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: (412) 315-0990
https://www.ymcaofpittsburgh.org/thelmalovette https://www.facebook.com/ThelmaLovetteYMCA/

Kingsley Association

Thelma Lovette YMCA
6435 Frankstown Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone: (412) 661-8751
http://kingsleyassociation.org/ https://www.facebook.com/KingsleyAssociation/

North Boroughs YMCA

North Boroughs YMCA
629 Lincoln Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
Phone: (412) 761-1227
https://www.ymcaofpittsburgh.org/northboroughs/ https://www.facebook.com/NoBoYMCA

Vanadium Woods Village

Vanadium Woods Village
50 Vanadium Road
Bridgeville, PA 15017
Phone: (412) 221-2900

Sampson YMCA

Sampson YMCA
2200 Golden Mile Highway
Pittsburgh, PA 15239
Phone: (724) 327-4667

Longwood at Oakmont

Longwood at Oakmont
500 Route 909
Verona, PA 15147
Phone: 1-877-359-6298

Sewickley Library

Sewickley Library
50 500 Thorn Street
Sewickley, PA 15143
Phone: (412) 741-6920

CC Mellor Library

CC Mellor Library
One Pennwood Avenue Edgewood, PA 15218
Phone: (412) 731-0909

North Hills Community Outreach

North Hills Community Outreach 1975 Ferguson Road Allison Park, PA 15101 Phone: (412) 487-6716 https://nhco.org/

Matilda Theiss Family Health Clinic

Matilda Theiss Family Health Clinic
373 Burrows Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Phone: (412) 383-1550

Phipps Garden Center

Phipps Garden Center
1059 Shady Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 441-4442

Passavant Hospital Foundation

Passavant Hospital Foundation
9100 Babcock Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(412) 748-6640

Holy Sepulcher Catholic Church

Holy Sepulcher Catholic Church
1304 East Cruikshank Road
Butler, PA 16002
Phone: (724) 586-7610

West End Active Living Center

West End Active Living Center
80 Wabash Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Urban League

Urban League
610 Wood Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 227-4802

Bible Center Church

Bible Center Church
717 N. Homewood Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
Phone: (412) 242-4920
https://www.biblecenterpgh.org/ https://www.facebook.com/bcpgh/


Aging Institute

Aging Institute
1500 Fifth Ave.
McKeesport, PA 15132
Phone: (412) 664-3463

Turtle Creek Senior Center

Turtle Creek Senior Center
519 Penn Avenue
Turtle Creek, PA 15145
Phone: (412) 824-6880

Riverview Community Action Corporation

Riverview Community Action Corporation
501 Second Street
P.O. Box 437
Oakmont PA 15137
(412) 828-1062



First Baptist Church of West Mifflin

First Baptist Church of West Mifflin
3427 Cypress Street
West Mifflin, PA 15122
(412) 431-2522

Community Advisory Board

The CAPH-PRC aimed to work in the community and with the community. The Community Advisory Board met quarterly and worked with PRC researchers and staff in the direction of the Center and MOVE UP, the Core Research Project. Community advisory board members brought a wide-range of expertise and experience in public policy, community mobilization and healthy aging. The PRC valued the input of our advisory council. Meet the CAB below.

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Jane Brandenstein, PT
Retired physical therapist
Instructor Trainer
Arthritis Foundation “10 Keys”TM to Healthy Aging + exercise program

Anne Brucker, MEd
Exercise Physiologist, Professional Teacher and Program Director

Nancy Cunningham, MEd, RN, CSN
Retired Community Member
Volunteer, Center for Aging and Population Health-Prevention Research Center, University of Pittsburgh

Kimberly K. Delp RN BSN
Senior Director of Home & Community Services
Landmark Home Healthcare Inc.
Northern Area Companies

Leslie Dunn, MPH
Center Administrator
University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer Disease Research Center

Molly M. Eggleston, MPH, CPH, MCHES
Special Projects Manager
Allegheny County DHS/Area Agency on Aging

Robert Harper, MSIS
Retired Community Member

Karen Hoesch
Executive Director
ACCESS Transportation Systems

Dina Jones, PT, PhD
Department of Orthopaedics & Division of Physical Therapy
West Virginia University

Taafoi Kamara, MPH
Administrative Director
UPMC Aging Institute

Jason Klein
Wellness Coordinator
Longwood at Oakmont
MOVEUP Community Health Worker

JoAnn Kline
Director, North Side Healthy Active Living Center

Noble A-W Maseru, PhD
Visiting Professor
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Director, Center for Health Equity
Associate Dean for Diversity, Office of the Dean
University of Pittsburgh

Elizabeth Mulvaney, MSW, LCSW
School of Social Work
University of Pittsburgh

Gretchen North, MA, MS, CHES
Vice President, Community Health & Wellness
YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Patricia Pacey
SilverSneakers® Instructor
PrimeTime Senior Center
MOVEUP Community Health Worker

Tracy Petras
Community Outreach Manager
UPMC McKeesport

Heather Sedlacko
Director, Programs for Seniors and People with Disabilities
United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania

Lorraine Starsky, RN, BSN
Public Health Nurse
Chronic Disease Prevention Program
Allegheny County Health Department

University of Pittsburgh
Center for Aging and Population Health
130 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213