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Community Wellness Initiative aims to enhance UPMC Carlisle walking trail

November 18, 2021

The walking trail at UPMC Carlisle has always been the place for staff, patients, and community members to escape reality for a short while and enjoy the quiet of nature. UPMC Pinnacle Foundation Major Gifts Officer Michelle Loomis, who serves UPMC Carlisle and their staff, soon came to realize there was a need in her community she could address. The trail, while calm and simple, was in dire need of some sprucing up. As such, Spruce Up Your Stroll, a community wellness initiative aiming to enhance the patient, staff, and overall community experience at UPMC Carlisle was born.

The UPMC Pinnacle Foundation believes in approaching this challenge from the ground up – literally. Individual, group, and business donations will help create a beautiful, and meaningful, outdoor space lined with trees, fitness stations, benches, birdhouses, squirrel feeders, and more.

Natural environments in health care facilities contribute to social integration, decrease stress levels, and increase access to social support for patients, families, and staff. As such, the impact of exercise and natural settings cannot be overlooked. UPMC Carlisle Surgery Scheduler Mallory Ocker’s life was changed for the better when she started using the walking trail on a regular basis during breaks at work. “I had my blood drawn around the end of 2019 and my numbers were not great; I wasn't very healthy...,” said Mallory. “I started walking the mile trail on my lunch break every day... Soon my lunchtime walks turned into not just lunchtime but after-work walks. Which slowly led to jogs after work. Over a year later I still walk at lunchtime and jog after work either on the hospital trail or at a park close to my house. I've lost 20 pounds, my bloodwork is much better, I feel healthier physically and mentally!”

Other staff at UPMC Carlisle are already excited about the Spruce Up Your Stroll trail improvements. “Getting out there and doing a little bit of walking, whether alone or with friends, that time is important,” said UPMC Carlisle OB/GYN Dr. Momon-Nelson. “Sometimes being at the hospital is heavy, but the opportunity to have somewhere beautiful to go and step away for a minute, I think many people will benefit from that.”

Spruce Up Your Stroll is not only a win for UPMC Carlisle but for the entire Carlisle community. Reducing medical costs by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles, bringing tourism to nearby businesses by attracting visitors to the trail, and providing a no-cost recreation and social engagement opportunity.

To learn more about how you can support Spruce Up Your Stroll at UPMC Carlisle, visit the webpage at