Cayuga Center for Healthy Living

Welcome! We’d like to introduce you to the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living (CCHL), a program of Cayuga Medical Center located at the beautiful Island Health Center on the Cayuga Lake Inlet. CCHL is a vibrant, innovative program designed to help people with chronic health challenges make productive lifestyle changes and enhance their ability to live a full and active life.


If you want to:


  Lose weight

  Become more active

  Get help managing a chronic condition such as heart disease or diabetes

  Live more healthfully with diabetes

  Learn to reduce stress

  Quit smoking


we can help you reach your goal.

What we believe


Issues of stress, diet, exercise, and smoking are key factors in the development of many serious health problems and account for 75 percent of all health care costs. With these costs skyrocketing, many Americans are turning to disease prevention and wellness promotion through lifestyle changes as the best investment in their health. It’s clear that “disease care” — going to the doctor and the hospital when you become ill— is an inadequate approach to health management. And medical technology, however advanced it may be, cannot address all of our health problems.


Everyone at the Center for Healthy Living is passionate in our commitment to help you cope more effectively with your existing health challenges and avoid problems in the future. Our Healthy Lifestyle Program gives you tools to make those changes that may have proved difficult to make on your own. We help you to live a healthier life in your environment.


How can we help you?


   Individual and group counseling sessions with our medical team


   Classes to help you develop health-enhancing life habits


   Follow-up checks to help you stay on target with your new skills


   Screenings/referrals when appropriate


   Co-management, with your physician, of chronic illness


Who is on your team?


Geoffrey Moore, MD, CCHL director, a sports medicine specialist committed to the benefits of wellness enhancement.


Kristen Verrill, PT, administrative program director


Henry Gerson, MD, psychiatrist and stress management specialist


Jamie Balas, health educator and administrative assistant


Myra Berkowitz, RD, dietitian


Cindy Milner, RD, dietitian


Shannan Simkin, FNP-C


Sue McKeon-Schaerr, clinical RN


Tiffany Bell, RN Bariatric coordinator


Lisa Proctor, ACNP


Sue Besemer, medical office assistant


What programs do we offer you?


We help people with disease work on lifestyle change to diminish the effects, and we look to prevent illness not yet developed. We also support your doctors in the management of existing chronic illnesses. That is, we work to give you tools which will help you halt or slow the progression of a chronic illness.


To find out more about specific program offerings, just click on the links below.


Healthy Living 101




Stress Management Counseling


Cardiovascular Disease Prevention/ +Cardiovascular Rehabilitation


Medically Supervised Exercise


Diabetes Education Classes


Smoking Cessation Counseling


What are the benefits?


Change! Certain lifestyle changes are very difficult to make on your own. We provide education, guidance, and support throughout your program to help you achieve measurable results. Unlike programs that target only one aspect of lifestyle, we look at your unique situation and combination of interrelated risk factors and habits to help you be successful in meeting your own health challenges.


We’re very excited that Cayuga Medical Center is our community partner because a collaborative approach to wellness works best. A collection of people and resources stands a much better chance of facilitating change than a single idea, person, or technique. That we are all housed in the same building makes us effective and ready resources for each other in the service of your health.


Typically programs such as the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living are only found in major metropolitan areas and are housed in large teaching hospitals. Through our relationship with the medical center, we can bring these services to you right here in Tompkins County.


Where are these programs offered?


The Cayuga Center for Healthy Living is on the fifth floor of the professional building at Island Health Center, 310 Taughannock Boulevard. This is located at the corner of Route 96 and Route 89 in Ithaca’s West End, which connects to the beautiful Cass Park Fitness Trail. There is plenty of parking and it’s free.


We are adjacent to Island Health and Fitness, a state-of-the-art fitness facility. From its inception, IH&F has partnered with Cayuga Medical Center’s Department of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine to advance a holistic approach to healing and wellness. Also on site is Rasa Spa a lovely place to reduce stress through therapeutic body work. The collaboration of these three entities with the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living creates a powerful base of support for the lifestyle changes you wish to make.



Does insurance cover the programs at CCHL?


It varies. Most health insurance does cover your initial visit if you have a chronic health problem related to one or more of the lifestyle risk factors. You may need a referral from your physician. People for whom this may not be covered are young, healthy individuals who have one or more of the risk factors but have not developed a chronic disease; i.e., a young and healthy person who is overweight. Self-pay patients are welcome.


How to get started


Most participants are referred by a medical professional, but self-referrals are also accepted. You may be asked to provide medical records. You will seen by our nurse practitioner, Shannan Simkin, for an assessment. Ask your doctor about the Healthy Living Program to see if it’s right for you, or call (607)252-3590 to schedule an appointment.


Our programs work. Feedback from people who have come to CCHL for help is very positive. They are making changes for the better in their lives as they progress to a new level of wellness. You can, too.

Initial Visit Patient Information Form

Healthy Living 101 Living 101 is our introductory seminar in living a healthy lifestyle. This eight-week series of classes introduces you to: the basic principles of lifestyle modification as an approach to disease prevention;  how lifestyle choices can help you manage your chronic health problems.


The focus of discussion is on developing stress-coping skills, achieving a heart-healthy

diet, and developing a regular regimen of exercise and physical activity. Maintaining a

log  book is a required activity, and participants are encouraged to spend some effort at uncovering the interrelationships of these topics in their own lives. You will receive a complimentary manual, lifestyle log book, and an instructional CD.


While insurance generally does not cover this program, it is worth asking your heath plan or employer’s benefits office. It is a great use of flex account funds!





This is an innovative eight-week program for children ages 8 to 14 with issues of

obesity. KidFit includes four weeks of nutrition education and four weeks of working with a trainer to implement an appropriate and manageable exercise plan. Some, but not all, insurance plans cover this program.


The nutrition component does not promote adherence to a particular diet; rather it teaches kids the keys for designing and maintaining their own individual program of healthy eating habits. We provide support as participants make decisions about food, progressively creating their own healthful eating plans. Family involvement is critical, so we encourage parents and siblings to attend weekly nutrition activities. We cover a wide range of topics:


  Maximizing metabolism

  Importance of daily breakfast

  Importance of healthy snacking

  Portion control

  Controlling added fats and sugar

  Stocking a lunch box

  Quick and healthy dinner ideas

  Smart fast food choices

  Reading and understanding food labels

  Dangers of fad diets


By the end of the program, participants and their families will have learned to implement some basic concepts that will positively impact their weight and overall health though the course of their lives.

Sign up for KidFit now!

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation


The Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Cardiac Rehabilitation is a lifestyle modification program of supervised exercise, dietary counseling, stress management, and education about your disease and its medical management. This program varies in length, up to 36 visits, depending on the nature of your condition and assistance from your insurance benefits.


Each exercise class is structured to suit individual participants and your specific needs. The class runs from 30 minutes to an hour and incorporates cardiovascular machines, hand-held weights, sport-coordination activities, core stabilization exercises, and stretching.


The education section covers nutrition, medication, understanding coronary artery disease, the benefits of exercise, reducing risk factors, managing cardiac emergencies, and psychosocial health.


Admission to this program requires a diagnosed medical condition of:  heart attack, cardiac chest pain (angina), bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty, valve replacement or repair, heart or heart-lung transplantation. The diagnosis must have been determined within the previous 12 months. (*Medicare coverage is limited to the diagnoses listed above. If you have private insurance, you may wish to contact your insurer to see if other conditions are covered. Co-pay may be required.)


Medically Supervised Exercise (MSE)


This is for people who have difficulty being active due to a chronic condition or disability, such as diabetes, obesity with back or joint pain, intermittent leg pain due to circulation problems (claudication), or irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation). If you have one of these conditions, it’s quite likely that you can exercise safely with some help and encouragement.


MSE classes are designed to meet your particular needs. Most classes incorporate cardiovascular equipment, hand-held weights, functional activities, and stretching movements. The prerequisite for this program is referral by our director, Dr. Geoffrey Moore. Many people take MSE concurrently with the Healthy Living introductory course or the Healthy Nutrition seminar.


The cost for MSE is $70 for eight sessions. While insurance generally does not cover this program, it is worth asking your heath plan or employer’s benefits office. It is a great use of flex account funds.

Diabetes Education Classes


This course, which is recognized by the American Diabetes Association, helps you learn and practice the skills you need to understand and manage your diabetes. It is a self-management training program held in a series of three two-hour sessions. To register for our Diabetes Education Classes, you must be referred either by our director, Dr. Geoffrey Moore, or your physician.


Your instructors are certified diabetes educators: a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, and a registered pharmacist. Classes provide a comprehensive overview of diabetes, including such topics as: types and complications of diabetes, the role of exercise in controlling diabetes, monitoring, medications, and nutrition.


The cost is $270 for six hours of classes and $43.50 for an individualized pre-assessment session. Health insurance often covers much of the cost of this course. We suggest you contact your health plan or employer’s benefits office for more information.


Smoking Cessation Classes


We all know smoking cessation is a powerful challenge. At the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, we can help you. Our eight-session class will educate you and provide you with needed support so that you can really change your habit.


Among the topics we cover are: coping strategies, habit triggers, barriers to a successful quit, relaxation strategies, the nature of urges, exercise and weight management when quitting, relapse prevention, and the benefits of quitting. Imagine being smoke-free: it can happen!


For more information on cost and insurance coverage, call us at (607) 252-3590.


Stress Management Program


In survey after survey, Americans today identify stress as their number one health concern.   Stress is unavoidable, and excessive stress can be detrimental to our health.


In our Stress Management program, you will receive an introduction to:


  The Relaxation Response - an approach that has been clinically proven at Harvard University to promote physical and mental well-being and reverse the effect of stress.

  Healthy lifestyle choices - a plan to integrate daily relaxation, healthy food choices, and regular exercise in developing a stress management routine.

  Techniques to identify your individual stress reactions and approach stressful situations in a way that fosters learning and improved coping.

  Building a stress-less lifestyle.


For more information on class schedules and costs, please call (607) 252-3590.

What’s new at the Center for Healthy Living?


New programs are evolving all the time!


    Healthy Indulgence comprises four to six yearly cooking and nutrition demonstrations to illustrate ways to make healthy cooking a “want to,” not a “should,” process. These meals are delicious! Our participating chefs come from the world-renowned Moosewood Restaurant, as well as our own executive chef, Jim Durkee.


    Expanded resources for psychological support, a key aspect of lifestyle change. We’re excited about being able to balance and strengthen our physical wellness programming with added effort devoted to mental wellness.


    Coming soon to a PC near you: we are working to institute an interactive website that will allow people to take the Healthy Living 101 class online. Not only will more people be able to access the class, but it will be available in a way that works for any schedule, even if you need to break up your lessons in small bits of time. Watch this web site for more news.


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