A podcast for UPMC Health Plan members, Health Break is your quick guide to caring for your mental and physical health, prioritizing wellness, and making the most of your health insurance plan.
Episode 3: Take a Health Break with PA Takes a Breath
In this Health Break, we revisit PA Takes a Breath, a UPMC Health Plan virtual event that shows the benefits of deep breathing. Hear from Dr. Matthew Hurford, president and CEO of Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, and practice a simple breathing exercise with UPMC Health Plan health coaches.
Related to this episode:
- Get connected to tools and programs to support your mental health based on your coverage type.
- Download RxWell.
- Try our stress management texting program! Text EXHALE to 876-247 to get started.*
About Dr. Matthew Hurford:
Dr. Hurford is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, the nation’s largest not-for-profit behavioral health managed care organization. Dr. Hurford has worked in public-sector psychiatry for nearly 20 years holding various leadership positions in academic, government and managed care systems. Dr. Hurford is a board-certified psychiatrist who has provided care to people with serious mental illness and substance-use disorder in diverse settings including the Indian Health Service on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona and urban community mental health centers in Philadelphia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College, a medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine, and he completed his residency and chief residency in psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
About Cassie Smolic:
Cassie has been with the UPMC Health Plan for almost five years, first as a lifestyle health coach and now a clinical engagement coordinator for the Clinical Education Team. Her educational background is a Bachelor of Science in Education from Slippery Rock University and a bachelor’s and master’s in Nutrition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Cassie is very passionate about teaching clinical staff new skill sets to positively impact members at UPMC Health Plan. She also enjoys being able to help others develop healthy lifestyle behaviors, specifically incorporating good nutrition and physical activity practices to achieve weight loss as a diabetes prevention program (DPP) coach in the UPMC DPP. In her free time, Cassie teaches indoor spin classes a few times a week.
About Carla Higgins:
Carla is a lifelong learner of balanced wellness. She graduated from Penn State University in Nutrition Sciences and went onto Ruby Memorial Hospital’s dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. In 2019 she graduated with a Masters degree in Adult Education from Point Park University. Her career highlights include being the corporate dietitian of Heinz North America, Communication Chair and Web Editor for the SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition) DPP, product development of major brands such as GNC and Nestle NA and Board member and 2013 Chair of the PA Dietetic Association meeting and now owning her own yoga and barre studio. At UPMC Health Plan, Carla is a health coach and enjoys the variety of members that she speaks with and offering them the chance to engage in their own health and wellness.
About Barrett Hammons:
Barrett is a master’s level, board-certified senior health coach who believes that everyone has the potential to become the master of their well-being. As a U.S. Army combat veteran, Barrett knows what it takes to turn misery into mastery. He takes great pride in showing UPMC Health Plan members how to use their personal challenges as fuel for their growth. Driven by his passion for service and grounded in more than a decade of coaching experience, Barrett has won a reputation for being a lifestyle health coach par excellence.
About Dr. Camille Clarke-Smith:
Camille Clarke-Smith, Ed.D., is a program director in the Quality Improvement, Medicare Stars Department at UPMC Health Plan; where she leads the Medicare Faith and Wellness Program, a 3-12 week health and wellness challenge. She is also the founder of Transforming the Health of African American women (T.H.A.W) Inc., a non-profit organization. Dr. Clarke-Smith received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, a master’s degree in exercise science, and a doctorate in health and physical activity education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Carlow University.
About Alex Treanor:
Alex Treanor is a senior health coach specialist at UPMC Health Plan. As a lifestyle health coach, she specializes in weight management, nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and tobacco cessation. Alex has been coaching for eight years and is a Nationally Board Certified Health &Wellness Coach and Certified Personal Trainer. She is currently enrolled as a graduate student for Integrative Wellness at Point Loma Nazarene University. Alex is passionate about helping people improve their relationship with food and exercise while creating healthy, sustainable routines filled with enjoyment. Alex enjoys spending time with her husband, walking with her dog, and eating tacos outside in the sunshine.
*UPMC Health Plan does not charge for text messages. However, data and message rates from your carrier may apply. To stop receiving healthy tips, text STOP to 876247 at any time.