Press Release

Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center Recognized for Innovative Approach to Reshaping Health Care


The American Hospital Association (AHA) today awarded the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision Award to Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Wabasha, Minn., for its work in improving the health of its communities through actions that go beyond traditional hospital care. The award was presented to Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center by AHA Senior Vice President Lisa Allen at an event today.

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center is a 25-bed rural hospital and 100-bed long-term care facility that serves the patients and communities of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Part of Ascension Health, Saint Elizabeth’s mission as a Catholic health ministry is dedicated to spiritually centered, holistic care which sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities.

“Hospitals like Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center are health care role models because of the many ways in which they are working to build healthier communities,” said Rick Pollack, AHA president and CEO. “The Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision Award recognizes all it does to instill a culture of better health and wellness throughout the community it serves.”

“Our efforts to instill a culture of wellness in our community is a way for us to fulfill our missions and live our values,” said Tom Crowley, Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center president. “It has been that way since the sisters founded our hospital in 1898. Receiving the AHA Living the Vision Award will inspire us to do more along our journey to wellness. It is important to note that Saint Elizabeth’s does not do this work in isolation. We have built strong community collaborations and partnerships that are making a difference and improving the health of children, adults, families and seniors across many community settings.”

A small snapshot of community-based and hospital programs that help individuals reach their full potential include:            

  • Fall prevention and chronic disease management programs, including Matter of Balance, Tai Ji Quan, Living Well with Chronic Conditions and Fit City Seniors. Other programs offer education and support for people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis, and also for those making healthful lifestyle changes.
  • Fresh Start, an exercise and lifestyle change program that is offered within the Wellness Center at Saint Elizabeth’s.
  • ACHIEVE, a comprehensive healthy lifestyle and weight management program that focuses on long-term lifestyle change facilitated by registered dietitians from Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center. ACHIEVE teaches key healthy living and weight management principles and helps program participants develop individualized strategies and techniques for applying these principles to daily living. The acronym stands for accountability, coaching, healthy eating, intuitiveness, education and resources, vitality and exercise.
  • 5-2-1-0 wellness program in schools, childcare providers, worksites, primary care clinics and other community settings, including farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants and the library. The program emphasizes eating five servings of fruits and vegetables, getting two hours or less of recreational TV or computer screen time, one hour of physical exercise and no sugary drinks. A Farm-to-School program delivers local fruits and vegetables from a local farmers market to the schools.
  • Make it OK anti-stigma program and mental illness crisis intervention programs throughout the county. 
  • WorkWell Works, a business-based wellness program that targets employers and their workforce, provides a broad scope of health screenings, education and programming tailored to the priority health needs of workplaces in the region.

Established in 1996 and first presented in 1998, the Living the Vision Award recognizes institutions or individuals living the AHA’s vision of a society of healthy communities where all individuals reach their highest potential for health. In 2002, it was renamed the Carolyn Boone Lewis Living the Vision Award, in memory of the first hospital trustee to serve as AHA chair. An important element of the award is that a hospital must be recognized as a leader and nominated by others in the health care field.


About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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