North Side Health Advisory Committee members have decided to suspend, at least for the time being, weekly classes at the Haimerl Center intended to help residents improve their lifestyles.

North Side Health Advisory Committee members have decided to suspend, at least for the time being, weekly classes at the Haimerl Center intended to help residents improve their lifestyles.

Poor attendance at the second in what was supposed to be an ongoing series of programs led to the decision, committee co-chairwoman Sandy LaFollette said at last week's monthly session of the advisory panel.

The initial six-week series of classes, which began June 30 and focused on fitness and weight loss, was relatively well-attended.

The second, on Aug. 11, was put on by committee member Gretchen Ratliff and her husband, Dr. David Ratliff, of the Northland Chiropractic Center.

Only a handful of people turned out for the first of what was to have been a series of four classes entitled "What's Making You Sick?"

Perhaps it was the perceived grim nature of the classes that kept people away, suggested Gretchen Ratliff, the patient educator for her husband's practice.

"There are a lot of sick people out there, but they don't want to think of themselves as being sick," she said.

LaFollette said she already had the third presenter for a series on cardiovascular health lined up, but with the prospect of sparse attendance, at best, the decision was made to hold off until some better method of getting people to show up could be found.

"I'm looking for your ideas to reach people this should be aimed at," she said.

Email lists, civic association newsletters, community bulletin boards and more were suggested, but none of those necessarily provide an opportunity for standing out, committee co-chairman Scott Dowling pointed out.

"What we're running into is, how do we stand above the clutter?" he said. "How do we really accurately target the people in our area without being part of the clutter? How do you really differentiate it?

"I think it's a huge challenge."

"Maybe we just didn't hit the right note," Ratliff said.

Committee member Dave Cooper echoed Dowling's dismay at the sheer volume of information people are exposed to every day. With all the groups and organizations he's involved in, not to mention his printing business, Cooper said he sometimes receives as many as 67 emails in the course of an hour.

"It's insane how much is getting thrown at us any more," he added.

Cooper spoke of a Veterans of Foreign Wars golf fundraiser that did better in terms of participants the second year than it did the first. The initial golf tournament was the result of weeks of planning, he said. Virtually no planning went into the second one, he said, but it was more successful because that time around, post members were charged with individually rounding up golfers.

"We're getting back to the point where we have to do it in person," Cooper said.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNews.com