Byrnes Health Education Center expands to Lancaster

Alyssa Pressler
  • The York-based health center will open a new office in Lancaster by April.
  • The Byrnes Health Education Center is a nonprofit that encourages people to make healthy choices.

The Byrnes Health Education Center, a mainstay in York County for more than 20 years, is expanding into Lancaster County.

Nikole Tome, the assistant director of education services for the Byrnes Health Education Center, teaches Samuel, Oliver and Cecelia Parrish about living healthy through an interactive program at the center in York.

According to a news release, the Lancaster-based office will work with the York office on health programs throughout the region. For years, the York office has been serving groups in Lancaster. The new office will make it easier to meet those needs.

“Lancaster County has always been a part of our service area, but this is the first time that we will have a physical office in the county,” president and CEO Anne Bahn said in the release. “The Lancaster office and the York-based Health Education Center will work united in the vision of serving as a leading resource of health education.”

Byrnes Health Education Center is a nonprofit that was established in York County in 1995 by Susan Byrnes, with the goal of encouraging people of all ages to make healthier choices through high-quality health education, according to the release.

She said she originally started her fight for health education in 1988, but it took some time to build the current York office, which is located at 515 S. George St.

Byrnes now serves as a York County commissioner, which caused her to take a step back from the health center, but before that she spent 26 years with the organization. She is still a board member, but she said she isn't as active as she used to be.

"I am just thrilled we are continuing to expand," she said in an interview. "We're so busy providing health education for people of all ages."

Kathy Minnich, a Northeastern School District social worker, right, announces York County President Commissioner Susan Byrnes during the York County Youth Mental Health Alliance at Wyndham Garden Hotel Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. Students from York County districts questioned a panel of county leaders during the town hall-style meeting. Bill Kalina photo

The Lancaster office is located at the Candy Factory, a coworking space at 342 N. Queen St. According to the release, the office will serve as an administration space for six employees. The location also can be used for programming in the Lancaster area.

Working with school districts has been an initiative of the Byrnes Health Education Center since its inception. The new office will help the organization better serve Lancaster school districts.

“Many schools are facing budget and time restraints that limit the amount of health education that students may receive,” CJ Freeman, the health, physical education and wellness network leader for Lancaster School District, said in the news release. “Our school district has been partnering with the Byrnes Health Education Center for more than 15 years, and they have continually provided interactive education that teaches all of our students from pre-K to high school how to make healthy choices.”

Byrnes said Lancaster students have traveled to York County for years to take advantage of the center's programming, and the center has worked with Lancaster schools for some time. She said she's hoping a dedicated center in Lancaster will increase awareness and community support.

"We couldn't be the resource we are without the support and dedication of people in central Pennsylvania," she said.

The Lancaster office is open, and the staff is planning health events that will take place in April. For more information, visit