New to the airwaves, Healthy Ulster Radio is spreading the message that healthy individuals are a product of healthy communities. Hosted by Ulster County Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith and Director of Community Health Relations Vincent Martello, the weekly show takes on a variety of topics ranging from the Zika virus to food insecurity.
“If you ask anyone what community health is, he or she would probably think about their medical care,” says Dr. Smith. “And while medical care is a very important part of community health, community health is really about everything that we do…. We need to address a wide range of factors, such as safe and affordable housing, clean air and clean water, access to fresh and affordable healthy food, access to recreation resources, and access to job and education opportunities in order to build a healthy community.”
In 2009, Ulster County was rated at number 33 out of 62 counties in the state according to the Robert Wood Johnson Health rankings. The number reflects both how long residents live and how healthy they feel while alive. Thanks to a boost from initiatives by County Executive Mike Hein and others, Ulster’s ranking has since risen to number 16. Though still in its infancy, the show is part of an ongoing effort to push Ulster’s rating to the top of the list.
Dr. Smith explains that Healthy Ulster Radio grew out of public service announcements put out by the Ulster County Board of Health to promote awareness and improve the health of the public.
“We periodically tape PSAs to promote tobacco cessation or immunization, or whatever we feel is appropriate for the time,” says Dr. Smith. “Vincent and I decided that we had the opportunity through Pamal Broadcasting to run a regular show.”
The show’s hosts strive to provide listeners with relevant information that is easy to understand.
“We thought this would really be a great avenue to discuss these concerns out there and discuss what’s being done in the community,” she says. Guests on the show are experts in their fields and know how to get their message across.
“The folks we interview, we know quite well. We know how well-versed they are in the work they do,” says Dr. Smith.
During an episode on Lyme disease and lesser-known tick-borne illnesses, guests included Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Tack and UCDOH Health Education Coordinator Stacy Kraft. Guests from other shows have represented organizations such as Riverkeeper, UlsterCorps, and Catskill Mountainkeeper to name a few.
Produced by the Ulster County Department of Health and sponsored by the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley, Healthy Ulster Radio airs Sunday mornings at 7:30am on WBPM (92.9 FM), and at 8:30am on WQHQ (920 AM), WLNA (1420 AM), and WCNR (1260 AM). Past shows are archived on the program’s website at ulstercountyny.gov/health/healthy-ulster-radio.