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Great Plains Health honored for partnership and GPFit! Wellness Initiative
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April 19, 2016

CONTACT:   Fiona Libsack, vice president of marketing and support services

            · Cell: 308.660.6658 · Office: 308.696.7498




                        Great Plains Health honored for partnership and GPFit! Wellness Initiative

NORTH PLATTE, NEB. – Great Plains Health was recognized in Omaha this month with the Midwest Region Parks and Recreation Conference’s Outstanding Community Organization Award. The Health System was nominated by the City of North Platte Recreation Department. 

The award is given to organizations across the state who lead the way in improving the health and wellness of the communities they serve and demonstrates outstanding contributions to parks or recreation at the local, state, regional or national level. 

According to Trudy Merrit, recreation leader for the Platte River Fitness Series, Great Plains Health played an instrumental role in developing the Platte River Fitness Series back in 2002 and through volunteer efforts, fundraising and guidance, has helped the series grow from three events to 29 and from serving a few hundred to around 2,000. 

“Beyond the volunteers, Great Plains Health has given more than $70,000 to keep the costs to participants at zero,” said Merritt. Their contributions have provided funding for a website and the marketing materials needed to grow the initiative.” 

In 2012, Great Plains Health partnered with the North Platte Recreation Center to offer the Get Up and Get Started program, a personal training program open to adults in the community at no cost. Solely funded by Great Plains Health, the structured 12-week program is designed to train individuals at any fitness level to walk or run in their first 5K event. 

In 2014, Great Plains Health expanded their contributions so that the Platte River Fitness Series could add The Platte River FitKids Series, a program designed to engage area youth interested in developing positive fitness habits early on.

Through the GPFit! Initiative, Great Plains Health was also able to support the “Leading Ladies Nebraska” program. This program targets women as important voices for healthier communities. It is an empowerment program for women, using an on-line community of women to help participants prepare for and complete a half or full marathon.  Fifty-four women from the area competed in the Leading Ladies Marathon in its inaugural year.

 “We strongly believe that the health of our community plays a vital role in its overall success,” said Fiona Libsack, Great Plains Health vice president of marketing and support services. “Our mission is to inspire health and healing by putting our patients first –always.” The GPFit! Initiative is just one way we work to inspire and engage the people of our region to take stock in their own health and start a path to a healthier lifestyle.”

Other programs offered through the Great Plains Health GPFit! Initiative include a free-of-charge smoking cessation program, a March Madness men’s health event, heart screenings, lung screenings, community health education “Doc-Walk-And-Talks and summer healthy grilling events.  

According to Libsack, the events, education and services offered through the Great Plains Health GPFit! Initiative lead to national recognition last year by the American Hospital Association as a best practice in community wellness.

 “Great Plains Health has made a firm and lasting commitment to community wellness,” said Merrit.  “Our initiative represents the power of public/private partnerships in affecting change in the culture of a community.  For 15 years, the work that Great Plains Health has supported has made a significant difference in our community, but more importantly, in the individual lives of our citizens.”

 For more information about GPFit!,go to


About Great Plains Health

Based in North Platte, Nebraska, Great Plains Health is a fully accredited, 116-bed acute care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota. With 85 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties, the Great Plains Health system offers advanced healthcare including heart and vascular, cancer and orthopedic surgery services. Great Plains Health is a level III trauma center with all of its emergency department physicians residency trained and board certified in emergency medicine. The system employs approximately 1,087 employees and serves a geographic area spanning approximately 16,000 square miles.

The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is home to an American College of Surgeons accredited cancer center and level II bariatric surgery program. For more information, visit

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