Members of In Christ New Hope Ministry Church meet twice a week to walk at Cobb's Hill. The church participates in Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition, which will share its success stories at the Urban Wellness Summit. (Photo by Karlie Lanni/Lush Light Photography)

Rochester’s Urban Wellness Summit brings together a national wellness speaker and presenters from two neighborhood health programs for two hours of inspiration and networking.

The Summit, set for 8 to 10 a.m. Sept. 29 at the Maplewood YMCA, 25 Driving Park Ave., Rochester, NY, offers a chance to hear about best practices in wellness and to learn new ways to build a culture of health where we work, play and pray.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, a noted health strategist, researcher and author, will provide inspiring ways to create healthier neighborhoods. The executive director of the nonprofit COSHAR Foundation, which focuses on improving the health of the world, one community at a time, Dr. Allison-Ottey advocates for health in such diverse settings as mass media and faith-based organizations.

Dr. Allison-Ottey was named the American Geriatric Society’s 1999 Investigator of the Year for her work on HIV/AIDS in the elderly. She is also recognized as a speaker on topics including health literacy, health disparities, women’s health, cultural competency, faith-based organizations in health care, public health advertising and health in an aging population.

The program also includes how-to stories and videos about two of Rochester’s neighborhood wellness programs, which can be replicated in multiple areas of Rochester and our region.

The Family, Food and Fun program, a Center for Community Health program, offers Foodlink's Cooking Matters curriculum, nutritional education and fitness activities where residents live, making participating for families easy and enjoyable.

The Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition works in congregations in health education and targeted lifestyle interventions. One of its programs is Healthy Blood Pressure through Faith and Lifestyle, a joint project with the High Blood Pressure Collaborative.

The Collaborative, which is presenting the summit, is a partnership of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency. The event also includes the support of the City of Rochester and leaders of wellness initiatives throughout the region.

The event is free and open to public, but seating is limited. Advanced registration is required by contacting Michele Hefferon at 585-256-4614 or

The High Blood Pressure Collaborative is a business-led health campaign provides interventions in medical practices, congregations, worksites, neighborhoods, barbershops and hair salons, engaging more than 200 volunteers from over 70 organizations. The collaborative draws on the leadership and support of business, physicians, hospital systems, health insurance companies, higher education, faith-based institutions and dozens of other community partners. Over the five years of the project, high blood pressure control has improved 12.8 percent in Monroe County for adults with hypertension.