(From L-R; Janine Campisi DiNatale, Christine Martin, Claude Kasman, Judy Cummings, Dr. V. William Caracci, Mary Louise Cohen, Ted Nagengast and Mariusz Borkowski, Oct., 2010)
The Bay Shore Wellness Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, educating, and involving all children in achieving optimal wellness within a healthy learning environment.
The Bay Shore Wellness Alliance was founded in. May of 1997 and is a unique collaboration of healthcare, educational and governmental organizations.The Bay Shore School District joined with Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center and Southside Hospital, all located in southwest Suffolk County, Long Island, N. Y.,as well as the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, and Adelphi University, the latter located in Nassau County, Long Island, N.Y.,to create the coalition.
The dominant purpose of the union was to create and develop a health promotion and disease prevention program in conjunction with the establishment of a modem state-of-the-art wellness center. The center was specifically designed for use by the students of the Bay Shore School District’s middle school. The program was structured to motivate and educate the participating middle school students to the benefits of an enduring healthy life style, encouraging a lifelong commitment to physical fitness by teaching the need for regular daily exercise, good nutritious habits and the avoidance of tobacco use. It was generally agreed that students in the middle school age group were less likely to have developed poor health habits at this stage of their life, and would be more susceptible, and readily educated to the concepts and ideas being advanced.
The need to form the coalition arose from a growing realization that prevention of the major health problems in our society needed to be addressed earlier in life than was the current practice. It was apparent that primary preventative measures initiated in adult life were often too late to avoid significant illnesses and their complications, for many individuals. This is especially true for cardiovascular disease, a disorder that afflicts many millions in this country, and in the western world
The concept of the need for early preventative measures is supported by the work of G. S. Berenson MD, chief investigator for the Bogalusa Heart Study, and author of the text “Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children”. He has clearly documented the onset of the atherosclerotic process in pre-adolescent and adolescent children in our society … atherosclerosis being the precursor mechanism for arterial blockage leading to heart attack and stroke. Several other studies  have shown the presence of mild to moderately advanced atherosclerosis in a substantial number of young American war dead, ranging in age from the late teens to mid twenties.Although genetic and familial factors are known to be contributory to the premature and early development of atherosclerosis, the weight of the evidence points more importantly to environmental influences.The non-inherited factors which have been documented to put our population at risk have been labeled “risk factors”. The most important of these are elevated blood cholesterol levels, excess body weight, tobacco use [specifically cigarette smoking], physical inactivity, high blood pressure, etc. Numerous studies  have demonstrated that the prevalence of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, etc. is proportional to the incidence of the afore-stated risk factors in this country, and those abroad, where similar life styles exist.
The Wellness Alliance took root, as previously stated, in May of 1997. Serendipity played a role to some extent Two members of the Physical Education Department of the Bay Shore Middle School strongly urged t health and wellness be given more attention and greater emphasis in the curriculum of the department. They envisioned a special setting where classroom and exercise facility would be combined. The “hybrid” facility would be equipped with the latest in computer and exercise equipment technology to assist and enhance their abilities to educate the students to the long term benefits of good health and disease prevention. Computers would be provisioned to allow students to accumulate personal health data and trend progress, as well as permit the faculty to acquire information for a variety of purposes, including the assessment of the ongoing program … a “community” database. The primary objective was to educate the students to an enduring healthy life style, but also envisioned were spin-off benefits derived from student application of computer technology, science, mathematics, etc. in gathering and evaluating information about their physical and health status, and trending that information. Students would also be learning about human biological, physiologic and pathologic processes, and utilizing that knowledge in an applicable manner.
After agonizing for many months as to whether a program of this nature was tenable in a school system, members of the physical education department, with the support of the administration of the Bay Shore school district sought outside consultation and advice. Because of his status as a trustee of one of the local community hospitals, a respected Bay Shore School District volunteer was asked to act as an intermediary. He gained the attention of the administrator of the hospital he was affiliated with, as well as that hospital’s director of cardiology. After review of the concept by the latter, he agreed that it was an approach not only worthy of consideration, but one that should be implemented. The ideas in the proposed plan were consistent with those embraced by the director of cardiology, who welcomed the opportunity to help develop a program of this type, and volunteered bis assistance.
A meeting was arranged between representatives of the school district and the hospital with the result that there was an immediate bonding, and agreement was reached to move forward on what was felt to be an innovative project The group quickly moved to add more expertise, and invited representation from both community hospitals, local healthcare providers, the county health department and nearby institutions of higher learning. It quickly received the endorsements of the Bay Shore School District Board of Education [which also provided space for the anticipated wellness center and also underwrote the cost of construction and maintenance],the local community hospitals [who in addition to representation, donated substantial grants for the acquisition of equipment and supplies], the Suffolk County Department of Health, the Suffolk County Executive Office and the Adelphi University Department of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance Science.
In the course of several meetings, the multidisciplinary committee decided to utilize “Bay Shore Wellness Alliance”as its identification, and the director of cardiology of the advisor hospital became its chairperson. Approximately 8 months after the Alliance was organized, and with the approval of the Bay Shore School District hierarchy, a wellness Center and equipped with state of the art computers, and exercise equipment. These included treadmills, bicycle ergometers [one with virtual reality capability], trotter bikes, stair-masters, elliptical trainers, wrist-worn heart rate monitors, syphmomanometers, desk and lap top computers, and a Health First Tri-fit 600 assessment computer. The latter would allow students, with some assistance from faculty, to undertake a clinical
assessment of themselves.
A syllabus underscoring wellness, and emphasizing health promotion and
disease prevention, was developed by a subcommittee of the Alliance with the
involved members of the Middle School physical education department It was then
evaluated and given the approval of the Distric’s administration and Board of
Education for incorporation into the school curriculum. This was accomplished in
time for the opening and dedication of the Wellness Center in April of 1998,
approximately 10 months after the formation of the Alliance. Space constraints bad
limited the choice for the site for the Wellness Center, and renovation of the garage
yielded only 500 square feet for functional use. This in tum only permitted an
average of 15 students per session to participate. Eighth graders were selected
initially to pilot the program. Within a period of six months there was a strong sense
among the faculty and other observers that the program was proving to be
successful, and the District administration acted to make it a permanent part of the
curriculum, and mandated that all middle school students rotate through the
The Alliance committee elected to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program more
conclusively, and a study was arranged and undertaken in conjunction with
members of the Dept. of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human
Performance Science of Adelphi University led by Dr.C. Roger Rees. Dr. Rees,
full professor was researcher of national and international reputation with
expertise in evaluation of youth in response to physical activity and fitness
programs. The study is still presently ongoing, but preliminary assessment after the
first year demonstrated a positive impact by the program on the student participants and post rotation testing was conducted utilizing a questionnaire designed by an Alliance subcommittee with input by Dr. Rees and some of his colleagues. The study which was multifaceted did show that students generally felt themselves to be healthy, popular with their peers and positive about their bodies as a result of their participation inthe wellness program. They also came away with strong negative impressions relating to the use of tobacco and alcohol, and a clearer understanding of the deleterious impact of these substances on their health. Although the sampling was still relatively small, and only a short term measurement of the effectiveness of the project, it was the consensus of the Alliance partnership that the program should not only move forward, but expanded when feasible.
 Berenson GS, Srinivasan SR, Freedman.DS, Jj.adhakrishnamurthy B,DaJferes ER Jr. Review: Atherosclerosis and its evolution in childhood. Am J Med Sci 1987; 294:429- 440.
Berenson GS, Srinivasn SR, Nicklas TA, Webber LS.Cardiovascular risk factors in children and early prevention of heart disease.Clio Chem 1988; 34:8115-8122.
 Enos WF, Holmes RH, Beyer J: Coronary disease among United States soldiers killed in action in Korea: preliminary report. JAMA 1953; 152:1090.
McNannara JJ, Molot MA, Stremple JP:Coronary artery disease in combat casualties in Vietnam. JAMA 1971;216:1185-1187.
Dock, W :The prediliction of atherosclerosis for the coronary arteries. JAMA 1946; 131:87S..878.
Chronology of BSWA Events
May, 1997 – Formation of the BSWA.
Winter, 1998 – Grants from Good Samaritan & Southside Hospitals, and Bay Shore School District [BSSD].
April,1998 – Establishment & Dedication of Gene Schmidt Wellness Center I BSSD Middle School.
Oct., 2001 – Establishment & Dedication of Inter Disciplinary Walking Trail I BSSD Middle School.
May, 2002 – Celebration & Honoring of Major Contributors of GS Wellness Center.
Oct., 2004 – Community Family Fun Walk Event Middle School Campus I BSSD.
Oct., 2004 – Children’s Nutrition Fair Event Gardiner Manor School I BSSD
May, 2006 – Establishment & Dedication of Dr. V. William Caracci Wellness Center I BSSD High School.
Sept., 2007 – Family Fall Festival & Fun/Run Middle School Campus I BSSD
Sept., 2009 – www.bayshorewellnessalliance.org website is launched, Bay Shore
March, 2010 – Bay Shore Community Walking Trails Fundraiser I Capt. Bill’s, BS.
Oct., 2010 – Establishment & Dedication of Bay Shore Community Walking Trails. CWTs Start Point/Dr. King’s Park
Jan., 2011 – First Annual Polar Bears Walk New Years Day, Nautical Trail, Bay Shore.
April, 2011 First Annual Bunny Hop Walk Shoppers Trail, Downtown Bay Shore.
Oct., 2011 Second Anniversary Community Walking Trails Event/ Family Fall Festival I Historical Trail, Bay Shore
Jan., 2012 – Second Annual Polar Bears Walk New Years Day, Nautical Trail, Bay Shore.
March, 2012 – Second Bunny Hop Walk Shoppers Trail, Downtown Bay Shore.
Sept., 2012 Run it Forward 300 Event Fundraiser I Changing Times, Bay Shore.
Oct., 2012 Run it Forward 300 Event/CWTs Third Anniversary/GSH Breast Health Center Benefit
Dec., 2012 Healthier Families Program Starts at the Bay Shore Middle School
Jan., 2013 – Third Annual Polar Bears Walk New Years Day, Nautical Trail.
April, 2013 – Third Annual Bunny Hop Walk Shoppers Trail, Downtown BS.
Sept., 2013 Healthier Families Program, Bay Shore Middle School
Jan., 2014 – Fourth Annual Polar Bears Walk New Years Day, Nautical Trail.
May, 2014 – First Annul Color Splash Fun Run, Bay Shore High School
Sept., 2014 Healthier Families Program, Bay Shore Middle School
May, 2015 – Second Annul Color Splash Fun Run, Bay Shore High School
Sept., 2015 Healthier Families Program, Bay Shore Middle School
June, 2016 – Third Annul Color Splash Fun Run, Bay Shore High School
Sept., 2016 Healthier Families Program, Bay Shore Middle School
May, 2017 – Bay Shore Family Fun Day and Fourth Annul Color Splash Fun Run, Bay Shore Marina
Sept., 2017 Healthier Families Program, Bay Shore Middle School
May, 2018 – Bay Shore Family Fun Day and Fifth Annul Color Splash Fun Run, Bay Shore Marina
- * Columbia University Teachers’ Seminar, 1997
- * AIESEP – World Sport Congress, 1998
- * National Association of Middle Schools Annual Conference – Oct., 1999
- * Columbia University Teachers’ Seminar – Nov, 1999
- * NYS AHPERD, Suffolk Zone Conference – Jan, 2000
- * Columbia University Teachers’ Seminar – May, 2000
- * AAHPERD Annual Conference, 2002
- * Connecticut State Educational Department/CDC&P, 2002
- * Bay Shore School District Superintendent Conference – Mar, 2004
- * Bay Shore School District Superintendent Conference – Mar, 2005
- * National School Board Association Conference, 2005
- * Eat Well Play Hard – Long Island Partnership, 2005
- Garden City (Nassau)
- East Hampton
- Islip Terrace
- East Meadow (Nassau)
- Half Hollow Hills
- West Babylon
- Huntington Station
- Nassau Community College
- Central Connecticut State College
- Mather Memorial Hospital
- Seven High School (NYC)
- Cartermedia (Indianapolis)
* National School Board Magna Award – 2005
* American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance Community Wellness Award -2005
* New York State, “Eat Well, Play Hard” Award – 2004 * Good Samaritan Community Service Award – 2005
* Suffolk County Department of Health Services S.H.I.P Award – 2002
* NYS Dept. of Health Community Service Award – 2002
* Federal funding (21st Century Community Learning Center Grant)
* Suffolk County Legislature – Leg. Angie Carpenter