Broome County Strategic Alliance for Health

Creating a Culture of Healthy Living - Broome County Strategic Alliance for Health

Broome County is one of several communities across the nation funded by the Centers for Disease Control to improve community health through sustainable, innovative, and evidence-based community health promotion and chronic disease prevention interventions that promote policy, systems, and environmental changes where people live, learn, work and play. The goal of the SAH is to identify a geographic location in the county and build capacity to:

  • Institute policy, systems, and environmental changes related to promoting physical activity and nutrition and reducing tobacco use and exposure.
  • Improve and increase access to quality care.
  • Help eliminate racial/ethnic and socioeconomic health disparities.
  • Reduce complications from and incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Broome County will focus chronic disease prevention efforts in the City of Binghamton. These efforts are lead by the Broome County Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Leadership Team whose membership includes representatives from education agencies, community and faith-based organizations, businesses, and the health care sector. The leadership team conducted a chronic disease community health assessment in the City of Binghamton schools, worksites, community based institutions, and in the health care sector to identify areas in need of policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. These strategies include:

  • Establish breastfeeding policies
  • Support calorie menu labeling legislation
  • Institute healthy vending policies
  • Increase availability and visibility of healthier food and beverage choices in public and or private venues; Improve availability of mechanisms for purchasing and or using foods from farms, community supported agriculture community gardens and urban agriculture initiatives
  • Establish Tobacco Free Parks
  • Enhance Senior Nutrition Program
  • Increase School Breakfast Participation
  • Increase physical activity within the school day apart from physical education
  • Establish legislation for procurement of local foods and support for Farm to You: restaurants, worksites, school nutrition programs
  • Establish mixed land use policies to support community gardening, community supported agriculture, urban farming
  • Enhance infrastructure supporting walking biking and or other forms of physical activity for community residents of all ages and abilities

Your support in any of the strategy areas would be greatly appreciated. For more information please contact: Claudia Edwards at 607.778.2802, or Mary McFadden at 607.778.3929,

Patriot Breakfast Program

The purpose of this implementation guide is to provide a case exemplar for the Strategic Alliance for Health initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Communities Program. The guide offers communities a “how to” handbook for implementing a policy, systems and environmental change strategy for chronic disease prevention.

Under this program grant, the Broome County Strategic Alliance for Health established the Patriot Breakfast Program, an evidence-based strategy for serving universal breakfast in the classroom. The setting for this project was the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in the Binghamton City School District located in upstate New York. In this school district, almost 60% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. In some schools in the district, such as Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, 72% of students qualify for this program. In this high-need area, many students do not have the opportunity to eat breakfast at home, and baseline data indicated that less than half of the eligible students were participating in the school breakfast program. 

Research suggests that skipping breakfast has a negative impact on health as well as academic performance. Universal school breakfast programs provide all students with a healthy meal to start their day and breakfast in the classroom programs have demonstrated success in increasing participation rates in the School Breakfast Program for low-income students. Such food service delivery changes could provide a mechanism for addressing health disparities present in this at-risk population.

The Patriot Breakfast Program was piloted in four second grade classrooms beginning in October, 2008 and was expanded to include all grade levels by the end of February 2009 reaching a total of 428 elementary school children. Since the start of the Patriot Breakfast Program, participation in the School Breakfast Program for the Woodrow Wilson School increased from 43% in October 2008 to 88% in October 2010. Further, teachers, parents, and students felt the Patriot Breakfast Program had positive behavioral, social, cognitive, and health benefits. Evaluation results also indicated that the program did not interfere with the school day and more than 80% of stakeholders hope that the program continues to be offered.