Struggling with a chronic illness? You are not alone and Healthy U can help!

For people with an ongoing (chronic) health condition such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, or arthritis, the day-to-day work of symptom management can be a grueling task. Fatigue, pain, isolation, confusion about medications, and worries about out-of-pocket medical costs are common issues.

A local workshop, called Healthy U, offers peer support and practical tips that help people manage their symptoms, save on health care costs, and improve their quality of life. Workshops are offered year round at convenient locations across southwestern Ohio.  Click here for a current list of workshops.


Services and Benefits

Developed at Stanford University, Healthy U workshops are for adults with any ongoing health condition – and caregivers. The workshops are designed to help people gain self-confidence in their ability to control their symptoms and learn how their health problems affect their lives.

Cynthia Oglesby, 55 of Paddock Hills, had recently been diagnosed with diabetes when she learned about Healthy U from a friend. “I was so confused about my diet,” Oglesby said. “I was seeing a nutritionist, but I was so confused about what to eat on a daily basis. The workshop really straightened me out. I learned how to plan meals around my disease.”

Small-group, interactive workshops are six weeks long, meet once a week for 2 ½ hours, and are facilitated by a pair of leaders, one or both of whom are non-health professionals with chronic diseases themselves. Workshops meet in familiar locations such as churches, community/senior/recreation centers, YMCAs, and doctor’s offices.

Oglesby said she enjoyed learning from others in the workshop.For those six weeks, we were a support group for each other."

Healthy U participants receive a workbook and discuss topics including:

  • How to deal with frustration, fatigue, pain, and isolation
  • Ways to maintain and improve strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Managing medications
  • How to communicate more effectively with family, friends, and health professionals
  • Healthy eating

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Healthy U is for adults of any age and their caregivers with any type of chronic health condition (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, sickle cell and others).

How to Enroll

Healthy U workshops are offered year round at locations throughout southwest Ohio.  Some of the workshops focus specifically on diabetes, while others are open to adults with any type of chronic illness. Click here for a list of current and upcoming workshops.  If no classes are currenlty available in your area, call Elaine Hordes at (513) 226-1585 to be added to a waiting list. 

Healthy U is also available through the VA at the Cincinnati VA Hospital.  You must be a veteran registered in the VA health system to participate.  For information, contact Dr. Sharyl Altum at (513) 861-3100 x5343.

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Proven to Work

Healthy U is an evidence-based program developed at Stanford University. Evidence-based programs - and their participants - are cloesly monitored to ensure the program's objectives are acheived.

National studies of the Healthy U program have found significant, measurable improvements in the health and quality of life of adults who participated in the program. Participants have reported significant improvements in exercise, symptom management, communication with physicians, fatigue, disability, and activities limitations. Additionally, participants spent fewer days in the hospital compared with those who did not participate in the program. The program is also shown to reduce health care costs, including $714 per person savings in emergency room visits and hospital utilization.

For Cynthia Oglesby, the results were significant. She lost 12 pounds during the workshop and was able to reduce the amount of medication she was taking for her condition.

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Become a Healthy U Facilitator

Healthy U facilitators come from a variety of backgrounds: some are adults who have personal experience managing a chronic condition, and others are professionals (nurses, care managers, health educators, etc.). Regardless of their background, Healthy U leaders receive training and course materials at no cost.

A five-day Healthy U facilitator training is scheulded for September 25 -29 from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm with 1 hour break for lunch.  Training will take place at 155 TriCounty Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.  

Contact Elaine Hordes at (513) 226-1585 for information.

Click here for more information

Many people who complete the facilitator training are themselves Healthy U graduates. After Cynthia Oglesby completed the workshop and saw the impact it had on her health and quality of life, she enrolled in the facilitator training through COA. 

New Healthy U host locations are also needed.  For information about hosting the Healthy U program, call Elaine at (513) 226-1585. 


 Council on Aging and Healthy U

Healthy U is an important part of Council on Aging’s mission to help people live independently in their homes and communities. In southwest Ohio, COA trains Healthy U facilitators and has a coordinator on staff who helps organize and promote workshops across COA’s service area (Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Warren counties). Since 2010, COA has trained approximately 90 Healthy U facilitators and more than 2,700 adults with a variety of on-going health conditions, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease, have participated in workshops throughout southwest Ohio.


Praise for Healthy U

"The [Healthy U] workshops compliment the education that participants have already received from their health care providers. The valuable tools they will learn during the six week program will help them manage their illnesses and, therefore, have a better life." Jean Hicks, RN, Healthy U Facilitator, Springdale Health Department

This program is made possible by Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) and funding from Title III of the Older Americans Act.


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175 Tri County Parkway | Cincinnati, OH 45246 | (513) 721-1025