The YMCA of Central Ohio & OhioHealth: A Partnership for a Better US


The YMCA of Central Ohio and OhioHealth recently announced the formation of a new initiative called the Healthy Communities Partnership which aims to transform the overall health and wellness of the individuals and communities they serve.

The multi-year, multi-disciplinary strategic partnership is the first of its kind in the region and will leverage the reach, resources and capabilities of two trusted organizations to bring unparalleled services and programming to the people of central Ohio. Chronic disease prevention and maintenance programming are currently being offered at local Y's as part of the initiative.

“The Y has been in the business of health and wellness and community engagement for over a century,” stated Stephen Ives, president and CEO for the YMCA of Central Ohio. “People recognize the Y as a place they’re comfortable coming to. But in this day and age, the needs for progressive and integrated health initiatives are really extraordinary. This partnerships brings two organizations together, whose missions are in alignment, to provide clinical expertise and a positive influence over people’s lifestyle changes.”

“We believe that healthcare of tomorrow means preventing disease as much as it is about curing disease today,” said Teri Caulin-Glaser, MD, system VP of clinical service lines. “That will mean new models of healthcare that make it easier, more enjoyable and more affordable for the people who receive it. We think this new partnership is one very positive step in helping to make that happen.”  

The YMCA and OhioHealth have been working together for several years to provide wellness and prevention programs for their respective associates including a free membership option for OhioHealth associates if they meet visit  goals to their local YMCA. OhioHealth’s Employer Services division provides biometric screenings, flu vaccines and wellness programs to YMCA employees.

Programming has expanded over the past two years to engage communities. OhioHealth’s Delay the Disease program for those living with Parkinson’s is now offered at several YMCA locations.

More recently, the two organizations have partnered to pilot disease-specific wellness programs including bone health and one for MS patients. These programs provide an integrated care approach for patients recovering from treatment or who are living with a physical condition. This methodology allows for an easy and coordinated transition from medically-supervised rehabilitation to ongoing exercise programs.

“Membership at the YMCA is not required to participate in Healthy Communities programs,” shared Ives. “Individuals may be referred to any of these programs by their physicians, can respond to promotional materials or call their local YMCA of Central Ohio location for more information.”

Looking forward, Healthy Communities programming will continue to grow. Specifically, there is an interest in diabetes prevention, neuroscience and a step-down exercise program for OhioHealth cardiac rehab patients.

“This will help us offer a next-level of care to our patients by connecting them with programs and services at the Y,” added Caulin-Glaser. “And because it will be closer to where they live, work or play, the chances of them actually being able to make it to those classes is increased significantly, which means their chances of staying healthy also increases.”

“This is a win-win-win situation,” said Ives. “For the YMCA and our members, it’s an opportunity to extend our relationship with the respected healthcare professionals at OhioHealth. For OhioHealth, it’s an opportunity to extend care and wellness programs to their patients and associates. And for the community, it is just the beginning of what will be many new and innovative programs to help people lead healthier lives.”