Community Liaison for Chronic Disease Program & Partnerships
Joe Balavage passionately serves as a community liaison for Core Health Partners work in the area of chronic disease education and programs.
Joe Balavage’s background is in business as well as pre-hospital emergency care as a Paramedic Level 2. He was in one of the first classes of EMT Paramedics certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Balavage was appointed as Chief of Medic 1 which was the first Advanced Life Support Paramedic Unit placed in service in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. During his tenure as a Paramedic, he served as Board Member to the Emergency Medical Services of Northeastern Pennsylvania, an agency appointed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to oversee all aspects of pre-hospital emergency care within a 7 County Region of the State. Joe also served as an instructor to new paramedics and to physician assistant students. During his time working in local Emergency Departments, Joe had the opportunity to meet with and develop the first fully operational Walk-In Medical center in the area he served. He subsequently was named as President of a Medical Billing company, as well as a medical management company that provided services to multiple Urgent Care Centers in Eastern Pennsylvania.
On December 22, 2010, Joe and his wife Tami found out their 16-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. They soon realized two very important things. The first; this disease is not one where an individual can lead a “normal” life and secondly it is costly, even with health insurance. They learned a number of children and families were unable to get adequate supplies for blood glucose testing and the education for the caregiver was inadequate at best. It was at this point where Help a Diabetic Child, HADC was formed as a non-profit public charity with a mission to raise money to purchase glucose testing supplies and insulin for kids in need. As HADC grew they began to take on providing education for those with the diabetes (and their caregivers). These were free community seminars, conveniently held at the local YMCA. Through the relationship with the YMCA Help a Diabetic Child was offered space for their good work in a diabetes education and resource center funded by the Roger Ludwig of the Weny Charitable Trust.
As the demand grew HADC organized a full one-day conference on diabetes. The Diabetes Conference attended by hundreds filled the YMCA gymnasium through offering some of the top clinicians and research experts on the disease.
When the CEO of the YMCA (Paul Thein) resigned his position to join Core Health Partners, the donor of the diabetes resource center (Roger Ludwig) approached HADC with funds for their organization to continue their diabetes education programs. Roger’s only request was to bring some of the clinical services to the community. Joe worked with the senior VP of CHP (Paul Thein) on strengthening the diabetes education model. Through Weny Charitable Trust funding, an articulation agreement between HADC and Core Health Partners was developed. This partnership and funding led to the development of a Diabetes Self-Management and Education (DSME) program that is designed to be delivered in a community center (YMCA). As the development of the DSME proved the need for more partners. With Joe’s passion to help those with diabetes and his communication skills, National experts were brought into the Diabetes Alliance Network (DAN).
Today DAN is a program of education (a DSME) that is designed to be delivered by common clinical provider (Core Health Partners) in a community setting. To protect the integrity of the model DAN DSME is Patent and Trademark pending. The curriculum materials are in a tool kit format which aligns with the donors wishes, as the DAN DSME is a program designed for easy and effective duplication.
The donors (Roger Ludwig’s) vision was to ensure that the YMCA would be a mechanism for clinic to community to grow. Joe Balavage talents in bringing the critical partners (DAN) together has made Roger’s vision possible.