The Health Initiative was created out of a collaboration by Canton-Potsdam Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. Leaders from these institutions brought together over 200 individuals - representing a broad spectrum of the community including health, human service, business, government and education - to conduct a thorough assessment of health in St. Lawrence County. The steering committee identified three health priority areas that needed to be addressed county-wide: Access to Care; Nutrition and Physical Activity; and Substance Use, focusing on youth tobacco use. The agency was incorporated in 1999 as a free-standing 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to secure resources and programming to address the identified priorities.
The Health Initiative continues to build on this rich history by focusing on community collaboration as a key element of every program. The agency is also committed to supporting other community agencies in their efforts including helping others to obtain resources, sharing data, information and materials, and collaborating on joint projects.