News & Events

Pediatric weight management program receives $100,000 New Balance Foundation grant

Date: 01/28/2020

NorthernLightWOW_program-children-obesity.jpgBangor, Maine (January 28, 2020) — Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center was awarded a $100,000 grant from the New Balance Foundation (NBF) to support the hospital’s Way to Optimal Weight (WOW) pediatric weight management program. This is the first time WOW has received a grant from the Boston-based foundation that serves as the philanthropic arm to New Balance Athletics. New Balance Athletics operates three manufacturing facilities in Maine employing more than 700 associates and the New Balance Foundation has supported Maine-based non-profits for decades. The grant funds will be used to strengthen WOW’s family-focused care of Maine children and expand their successful telemedicine program to rural and underserved areas of the state.

Obesity is a complex disease process which affects nearly 30% of Maine children and young adults. “Our new partnership with the New Balance Foundation is an exciting opportunity to join forces and fully address childhood obesity through the successful prevention measures currently supported by NBF, as well as the expansion of access to treatment that WOW provides,” says WOW director Valerie O’Hara, DO, ABOM. “A focus of expansion is our TeleWOW services which bring comprehensive specialty care to our more rural communities. By combining the expertise of the New Balance Foundation, including tools developed by the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and our WOW program, we will improve the health of children and families throughout the state.”

WOW provides evidence-based comprehensive interdisciplinary care, led by an American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM), certified pediatric obesity specialist for children, adolescents, and young adults. Patients are referred to WOW by either their primary care provider or other medical specialist. WOW’s phased chronic-care model involves the patient and family with a team to implement individualized treatment protocols that best address the goals and needs of each patient. WOW patients also utilize the New Balance Recreation center at the University of Maine as part of their treatment with one-on-one support of personal trainers.