Greater Rochester Obesity Collaborative Part of National Health Initiative

Jul. 27, 2011
Rochester’s team selected as one of 10 to help nation reduce obesity rate

The Greater Rochester Obesity Collaborative has been selected to serve as a national model for obesity prevention and treatment. The Rochester team was among 10 teams chosen to participate in the Healthy Weight Collaborative (HWC), a partnership between the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), aimed at curbing the obesity rate in the U.S.

Obesity is the leading preventable cause of death nationwide. Monroe County’s overall childhood obesity rate is a little more than 15 percent, which is just below the national average of 17 percent, according to a study conducted by Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Stephen R. Cook, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital, was principal investigator of the study and is the team leader for GROC.

“This project will focus on working closely with our partners in the community – something we’ve been able to do very well in this community for years. Our partners include community groups, such as local non-profits and government agencies, along with individuals, including parents, pediatricians, nurses, office managers and insurance agents,” said Cook. “We’re very proud to share our experience and are very excited to see what we’ll learn from the other teams from across the U.S.”

The teams will partner with proponents from primary care, public health and community-based organizations. Organizations partnering with the Rochester team include the Finger Lakes Health System Agency, the Monroe Plan, the YMCA, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Children’s Institute, WXXI broadcasting and the Monroe County and NYS Departments of Health.   

In the first 12 months of this collaborative, the 10 teams will use a web portal to communicate, share data and report progress. Teams will meet virtually or face-to-face, three times a year and work with national experts in the field of obesity. The Rochester team is representing the Health and Human Services Region II, which is all of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

In the second year of the project, NICHQ will offer a second national training for 40 teams across the nation and the teams from the first cycle will serve as regional centers of excellence during the second phase. For more information on the project, and to access tools and resources available to help families and communities improve obesity rates, visit