Saratoga Community Health Center’s Complementary Pain Management Program Earns National Recognition  

At a time when the country is earnestly pursuing other-than-opioid options for pain, Saratoga Community Health Center’s Complementary Pain Management Program, located at 24 Hamilton Street in Saratoga Springs, has been credited by national experts for being among those on the leading edge of alternative pain management initiatives.

The three-year-old program has been named a winner of the 2018 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Program to Achieve Wellness. SAMHSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Community Health Center was one of only four recipients—and the only medical facility—winning this year’s national award.

“At its core, this recognition is to highlight pioneers in wellness, which is quite an achievement,” said Renée Rodriguez-Goodemote, MD, FAAFP, medical director, Saratoga Community Health Center. “But the patients are the ones who deserve this recognition. They did the necessary work to experience wellness; we were just the vehicle. This award is really for them. It validates all of their time and effort.”

After a highly competitive review of award applicants by a committee of national experts, the Complementary Pain Management Program was found to be “exemplary in innovation, replicability, and impact, creating meaningful improvements in the lives of people in recovery from mental and/or substance use disorders,” according to the SAMHSA Program to Achieve Wellness award announcement. 

Joining Saratoga Community Health Center as a 2018 Recognition of Excellence winner are: Baltic Street, Brooklyn, New York; The Guidance Center of Westchester, Mount Vernon, New York; and Mental Health Community Centers, Inc., Sarasota, Florida.

The goal of the annual recognition is to identify and showcase those programs that have demonstrated success in integrating effective wellness practices into services for people in recovery from behavioral and substance use disorders. In order to bring attention to the model work being done by the awardees, SAMHSA’s Program to Achieve Wellness hosted a webinar in August to feature the winning programs and allow webinar participants from across the U.S. to ask questions and develop connections to explore implementing some of the award-winning best practices in their own communities.

“What’s groundbreaking about Dr. Rodriguez-Goodemote’s program is that it’s, one, being done without pharmaceuticals, and two, that it’s a physician-led program,” said Gordan Kuhar, MD, DABPM, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Pain Management. “The whole person-centered approach is yet to be fully embraced in most medical facilities, but it is right in line with Saratoga Hospital’s commitment to providing patient-centered care, and her work has proven quite successful among the patients we share. The recognition is well-earned.”

According to Dr. Rodriguez-Goodemote, the 12-week complementary pain management program series runs twice annually. Patients are provided a safe place to explore mind and body principles of yoga for a holistic experience of wellness to learn how to change their relationship with pain. The program includes nutrition and diet fundamentals to support pain reduction and overall wellness, as well as camaraderie and peer support. Patient health outcomes and course progress are tracked through the electronic medical record alongside other existing physical or mental health conditions, ensuring provider communication and continuity of care.

To learn more about SAMHSA’s Program to Achieve Wellness 2018 Recognition of Excellence in Wellness award and recipients, visit To learn more about Saratoga Community Health Center’s Complementary Pain Management Program, visit or call 518-886-5600.

Sep 07, 2018 | Categories: Classes & Events , Health Information , News
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