Author: Community Health Net

September is National Aging Awareness Month!

National Aging® Awareness Month focuses on practical ways for adults, ages 45-plus, to improve their physical and mental well-being and take control of their health!


Get the Facts

  • Falls are very common in older adults. Many falls cause only minor injuries, but some can be life-changing and cause older adults to restrict their activities.
  • Memory concerns often cause anxiety for older adults and families. They may — or may not — reflect substantial decreases in thinking abilities.
  • Although healthy older adults have lower rates of depression than the general public, depression is still a common problem that is easily missed. It’s more common in those who are struggling with illness, involved in caregiving, or socially isolated.
  • About 50% of all adults aged 65+ experience bothersome pain every month, often in multiple parts of the body. Persisting pain is linked with decreased social and physical activity, depression, and taking worse care of one’s own health. Pain can also be a sign of a new health problem that needs attention or a chronic problem that’s being poorly managed.
  • Both isolation (not having a lot of social contact with others) and loneliness (the feeling of lacking social connection) have been linked to declines in physical health. A 2012 study found that 43% of older adults reported feeling lonely; over the next 6 years, they were more likely to lose physical abilities or die. Loneliness and isolation have also been linked to decreased immune function and a greater risk of depression.
  • Polypharmacy means taking multiple medications. It’s a problem mainly because as people get older, they become especially at risk for harm from medication side-effects or interactions.
  • According to the CDC, every year 177,000 older adults visit the emergency room due to medication problems.

Take Action.

  • Exercise can be as simple as walking just ten or fifteen minutes, three to four times a week, and increasing as you go.
  • For those who are more active, try taking up tennis or joining a club where you can swim or use the exercise equipment.  Even just taking a dance class or senior yoga, gardening, or mowing the lawn.
  • Consider proper portion sizes when eating.  Eating larger portions than recommended leads to obesity, diabetes, and/or heart disease.
  • Keeping your mind active and engaged may ward changes that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Be pos­i­tive in your con­ver­sa­tions and your actions every day.
  • Stay Social. Don’t be afraid to make new friends, and make an effort to see your old friends, too. A sedentary lifestyle devoid of interaction with friends and family leads to health issues and isolation can lead to depression.
  • Maintain regularly scheduled visits to your healthcare provider.
  • If you feel pains or symptoms, do not ignore them.  See your provider immediately.


Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

10 Facts You Should Know about Girard School-Based Health Center

Fact #1: 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 is a doctor’s office inside of your child’s school, staffed with a primary care provider and clinical staff from 8 am to 5 pm each week throughout the school year. Services are provided through 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗡𝗲𝘁. The SBHC was established to supplement the care children already receive, reach children who may not have access to care, and decrease absenteeism.

Fact #2: 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 is located at Girard High School.

Fact #3: Any student with a signed consent form that attends school within the Girard School District may be seen at 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝘁 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹. Our providers will also administer primary health care services to the staff of Girard School District and Girard/Lake City Community members.

Fact #4: Our primary care providers offer a variety of services through 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝘁 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹. These services include yearly well-child exams, vaccinations, sports physicals, acute care visits (i.e., sick visits, lacerations, injuries, etc.), chronic care visits (i.e., asthma, allergy shots, etc.), and early intervention/prevention through consistency and education.

Fact #5: 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 was formed in collaboration with Girard School District Board of Education and 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗡𝗲𝘁 to provide care and convenience for the children and the staff of the Girard School District. Completing a consent form and registering your children in school-based health care is optional.

Fact #6: Before each visit with your child (whether previously scheduled or not), the provider at 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 will contact you by phone before that day’s visit to verify that your child may be seen. If the provider cannot reach you, they will defer to your child’s written consent form. If a written consent form is not available and the provider cannot speak with you to obtain verbal consent, your child will not be seen. Verbal permission is good for that day’s visit and may only be obtained once per school year.

Fact #7: We accept consent forms anytime throughout the school year. These are available at each location of Girard School District (Elk Valley Elementary, Rice Avenue Middle School, and Girard High School), in the main office and nurses’ offices.

Fact #8: Yes, all services provided within 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 will be billed. We accept most major insurances, including PEIA, CHIPs, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. If your child does not have insurance, they can still be seen at the SBHC, and you will be billed directly for the cost of the services.

Fact #9: If your child is uninsured, please contact 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗡𝗲𝘁 at (814) 454-4530 for assistance in enrolling in an insurance plan or the CHN 𝗦𝗹𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗲𝗲 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺. The Sliding Fee Discount Program reduces the cost of care to uninsured patients based on their family size and income.

Fact #10: 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 is funded by Community Health Net and staffed by a primary care provider and a clinical team.

Community Health Net Shares in White House Mask Initiative

The government is distributing 25 million masks to health centers and pantries.


For Immediate Release

Erie, Pa. – August 16, 2021 – Community Health Net (CHN), the leading Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the Lake Erie region, has announced that it has received a supply of 1000 youth masks under a new White House mask initiative. Through the National Strategy to defeat COVID-19, the Administration is delivering more than 25 million facemasks to over 1,300 Community Health Centers across the country and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens, reaching some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD), the purpose of the effort is to ensure that low-income individuals have affordable access to this essential protection.

“The safety and health of individuals and families in the Lake Erie region is top of mind for us, especially those who can be adversely impacted by COVID-19 due to their economic status,” said Craig Ulmer, CEO of Community Health Net.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends mask-wearing as a critical step to slow the spread and protect people from getting COVID-19. However, many low-income Americans still lack access to this protection. Two-thirds of the people served by Community Health Centers nationally live in poverty, 60% are racial and/or ethnic minorities, and nearly 1.4 million are unhoused.   “We are excited to be included in this special initiative as it integrates perfectly into our ongoing regional COVID-19 mitigation efforts.”

Residents in the region may pick up an individually wrapped package of two masks for each person in their household at any CHN location.  Child sizes are available. The masks are 3-ply, high-quality, washable, and consistent with the mask guidance from the CDC.  The distribution will not impact mask availability for health care workers.

About Community Health Net

Community Health Net is the preeminent, community-focused healthcare network that advances the wellness of the region. Our mission is to improve our region’s quality of life by providing professional healthcare services with compassion, respect, and dignity to all. We are a Federally Qualified Health Center with seven locations serving the Lake Erie region for over 35 years.


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD).  For more information, please visit



July is National UV Safety Awareness Month!

Sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, and UV exposure can raise skin cancer risk even without causing sunburn.

Get the Facts.

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is electromagnetic radiation from the sun and manufactured sources like tanning beds and welding torches.
  • Everyone’s skin and eyes can be affected by the sun and other forms of ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • People with light skin are much more likely to have their skin damaged by UV rays (and to get skin cancer), but darker-skinned people, including people of any ethnicity, can also be affected.
  • You don’t need x-rays or blood tests to find skin cancer early – just your eyes and a mirror.
  • Both IARC and NTP classify the use of UV-emitting tanning devices, including sunlamps and tanning beds, as carcinogenic (or having the potential to cause cancer to humans.)

Take Action.

  • Protect your skin with clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • If you’re going to be outside, simply staying in the shade, especially during midday hours, is one of the best ways to limit your UV exposure to sunlight.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV rays to protect your eyes and the skin around them.
  • Use sunscreen to help protect skin that isn’t covered with clothing.

You need to be especially careful in the sun if you:

  • Have had skin cancer before.
  • Have a family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma.
  • Have many moles, irregular moles, or large moles.
  • Have freckles and burn before tanning.
  • Have fair skin, blue or green eyes, or blond, red, or light brown hair.
  • Have certain autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus).
  • Have had an organ transplant.
  • Take medicines that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Call Community Health Net to schedule an appointment with a provider today: (814) 455-7222. Or visit for more information.

Our health information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist the public to learn more about their health. Community Health Net providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Health Facts is a public service partnership of Community Health Net and CF Cares of Country Fair Stores, Inc.

Does the COVID vaccine research reflect the needs of communities of color?

“The NIH set up five different panels of scientists based on they have an African American, they have a Latinx, they have one that deals with geriatric patients, and the Veterans Administration patients and then other Indigenous groups.

And they set that up so that we would be able to see the phase one and the phase two data that led to the phase three trial. And also in developing the phase three trial we got to see the consent forms, we got to see all of the information that informed the science, but also would be shared to the volunteers.

Would they have this information in a platform or in a culturally linguistically manner, that they would be able to understand it? And not just about the effectiveness of the vaccine, but the safety. And so, I participated in multiple zoom call meetings, looking at that data for the vaccine candidates which was really important to my comfort level.”

Can pregnant women get the COVID vaccine?

“From all the data and information that we have, we know that it’s a safe vaccine, and we know that women who are pregnant are at increased risk for poor outcomes from a COVID infection. And so, I definitely offer the vaccine to pregnant women and am very confident that it is something that is safe to take during pregnancy.”

What to expect after you get a COVID vaccine?

“Typically, when I’m going to give the COVID vaccine, I’ll let them know when you’re going to get the first dose of the COVID vaccine you might feel your arm very sore. It’s like somebody punched you in the arm, and that’s that type of a soreness. If you’ve ever gotten a tetanus shot, it feels like a tetanus shot. Your arm is sore probably for the rest of the day, but again, keep moving it around. Do everything that you normally do, because it’ll be like a sore muscle. You still want to be able to move it and get that vaccine going. You want the medication to be able to absorb and disseminate. So, it’s good for you to continue to move that arm around. If you start to feel achy, like minor body aches, if you notice that you have a fever, you can take some Tylenol, if you’d like. If you notice that you have a fever, if you have minor body aches, rest, drink plenty of fluids.

When you get the second dose, that’s typically when you tend to have some or more of the signs and symptoms of the side effects like the body aches, the headache, you might have a fever. Maybe, maybe not. Again, everybody’s very different. And the way your body reacts to medication is very differently. For me personally, it was the second dose where I had the body aches, but I was still able to work. I did the 12-hour shift, and I had no problem being able to do that. And I didn’t have to take anything. But again, we all feel differently. Our bodies are different, and we react differently. So, it just depends your comfort level. For me, I didn’t need to use anything, but if you need to, you can take Tylenol.”

What to know about COVID vaccines & new variants?

“I know it sounds very scary, but first you have to understand how viruses work. Viruses in order to infect a person and make them sick, the viruses have to copy themselves. And when the viruses make copies of themselves, they make mistakes. And that’s all a mutation is it’s a mistake when the virus copies itself. Viruses do what viruses do, and that is to sort of replicate. And as part of that replication process, it doesn’t always do it perfectly. You know, viruses want to survive. So by any means necessary, they’re going to work to do that. So what we need to be concerned about is when they make mistakes, when they’re being copied, are they making a mistake that will affect the performance of the vaccine. I think it’s really important that our communities understand that we’re expecting to see some variants pop up and that the variants that we’re seeing are being actively tested against the vaccines as they come out. And what we know right now, even from studies, especially in the Johnson and Johnson study that tested the vaccine against these variants or these mutations, even with the mutations present it has been shown to prevent death and keep people out of the hospital. All of the vaccines that are currently under emergency use authorization would work really well to protect people from getting seriously sick and ending up in the hospital and potentially dying. This is a new emerging situation for all of us. And so we’re constantly learning new things as we move along. So as long as coronavirus is out in the community and it’s copying itself, it can be mutating, but this is the reason people need to get vaccinated. So that we can stop the spread of coronavirus and end the pandemic. It’s really important that our communities are vaccinated as soon as possible to slow down the spread of the virus and to avert the opportunity for other variants of the virus to appear. The greater race is to avert additional hospitalizations and deaths.”

If you can still get COVID, why get vaccinated?

“It’s hard to then for people to understand the idea that a vaccine wouldn’t protect you 100 percent. Although honestly, the flu vaccine also doesn’t protect you 100 percent, you know? But the people that were vaccinated in the clinical trials, even if they got symptomatic COVID were not admitted to the hospital, were not admitted to the ICU and did not die from COVID. So, you might get mild COVID, but if you can be almost guaranteed not getting admitted to the hospital, being in the ICU or dying from COVID, it’s worth it.”

2022 Community Health Needs Assessment

Community Health Net is conducting this survey to identify health needs in Northwest Pennsylvania.  We need your input!

We are conducting a 5-minute Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) survey. It is a way of involving community members to identify Erie’s community health needs. The survey results also provide a way for us to prioritize, plan, and act upon unmet community health needs.

This is an ANONYMOUS survey. You must be 18 years or older to complete this survey. Please complete this survey ONLY ONE TIME.

Thank you for participating. Your feedback is important.

Community Health Net is the preeminent, community-focused healthcare network that advances the wellness of the region. Our mission is to improve our region’s quality of life by providing professional healthcare services with compassion, respect, and dignity to all. We are a Federally Qualified Health Center with seven locations serving the Lake Erie region for over 35 years.

Call (814) 455-7222