UPMC Memorial’s ‘Transform the Trail’ is a prescription for healthy living

From walking to beekeeping and gardening, the Wellness Trail on the UPMC Memorial campus is a place where healthy habits are part of a larger care plan.

Written by: Rebecca Hanlon
Story paid for by: UPMC Memorial
UPMC Memorial's KimberLee Mudge, MD, makes a habit of making her way to the honeybee hives alongside the Wellness Trail surrounding the hospital. (Photo by Orendorff Studios for Our York Media)

A few times a week during her breaks, Breast Surgeon KimberLee Mudge, MD, walks out to the Wellness Trail surrounding UPMC Memorial to check the honeybee hives.

While the bees make honey and help pollinate the area’s vast vegetation, Dr. Mudge believes they represent something more: community.

“We can all learn a lot from bees,” she said. “Everyone’s working together for a greater purpose.”

It’s a not-so-subtle metaphor for the hospital, a short hike away.

Beyond the bees, trees, plants, and ponds, there’s a lesson to be learned along the nearly three miles of paved trails. Dr. Mudge calls it lifestyle medicine, treating people well before they become patients.

“Promoting wellness before illness looks at exercise, mindfulness, and nutrition,” she said. “All of those things are principles for treating patients at UPMC Memorial.”

That’s why the Transform the Trail project is so important to Dr. Mudge. For years, York County residents have walked the old golf cart paths on the UPMC Memorial campus.

The UPMC Pinnacle Foundation launched a campaign recently to bring substantial improvements to the Wellness Trail. (Photo by Orendorff Studios for Our York Media)

“We knew this was an important part of the community,” said Chad Myers, director of development at UPMC Pinnacle Foundation. “It seemed like a perfect fit to use it for the betterment of York County’s health.”

As part of UPMC Memorial’s one-year anniversary, the foundation launched a campaign to bring substantial improvements to the trail. The first phase, set to begin in spring 2021, will include widening parts of the trail, installing bird houses and squirrel feeders, adding benches, and incorporating outdoor fitness equipment.

Phase two will include expanding the garden, the addition of a greenhouse, and an overall health and wellness program at the hospital.

“I look forward to the day when one of our doctors writes a prescription for someone to take a 15-minute walk on the trail,” Myers said. “It’s going to change the way we look at wellness, and that’s a project I’m excited to be part of.”

How to help

From sponsoring a bird house to a maple tree, York County residents have an opportunity to leave their mark on the Wellness Trail. For more information, visit UPMCPinnacle.com/TransformTheTrail.

Story paid for by UPMC

1703 Innovation Drive York, PA 17403

Get good news in your inbox: Subscribe and we’ll send you the latest features as well as behind-the-scenes looks of our stories and why each story we publish matters to us and the community.