Canyon Ranch Institute Brings Healthy Living Home to Southern Arizona

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Canyon Ranch Institute Brings Healthy Living Home to Southern Arizona

By Mel Zuckerman

Enid and I have been very excited by the growth of our non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute® and the dynamic CRI partnerships that are bringing the healthy living practices of Canyon Ranch to low-income people around the country – to the South Bronx, Cleveland and rural Missouri – and to folks as far away as Peru.

Some time ago, though, we started to feel that we weren’t paying enough attention to our hometown.

Tucson and the surrounding area is home to substantial and largely underserved Hispanic and Native American populations, and is unfortunately marked by striking health disparities. The life expectancy for an average Hispanic person in the region, for example, is 10 years less than that of the average Anglo. Back when we established the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona in 2000, with its focus on prevention and health promotion in the Southwest, we were motivated by our concern about this situation. So we had to ask – when was Canyon Ranch Institute going to bring the inspiration and know-how of Canyon Ranch to our community?

I’m pleased to announce that, beginning in January, the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program® will be offered to the patients of El Rio Community Health Center,  Southern Arizona’s largest provider of accessible, affordable health care. El Rio is one of the largest non-profit, federally qualified community health centers in the United States, and serves more than 70,000 people at 17 clinics throughout the region. Nearly 70% of those folks have incomes below the federal poverty level, and too many of them are burdened with chronic diseases that can often be addressed with changes in lifestyle. That’s what CRI LEP is all about, and we intend to offer it for free to as many low-income people in Tucson as possible. We know from CRI’s successes elsewhere that the health literacy the Life Enhancement Program brings to participants ripples out and multiplies as participants share what they’ve learned with family and friends, creating a healthier and more secure community from the ground up.

Fifty-three years ago, when we could have started our new life anywhere, Enid and I chose Tucson. This is the community where we raised our family, prospered in business, and made innumerable friends and connections. Southern Arizona is our home, and home to Canyon Ranch, and we long to make it a healthier place. We’d be tremendously honored if you would join us in this effort.

The Zuckerman 
H.E.A.L.T.H. Challenge –
Everyone Achieve Lasting Total Health

The Zuckerman Family Foundation initially funded CRI LEP in Southern Arizona with a $300,000 start-up grant. Now, to continue and expand health programs in the region, the Zuckerman family has pledged to match all contributions to CRI earmarked for Southern Arizona, up to $1 million.

If you would like to help support projects to make Southern Arizona healthier, please visit

If you would like to focus your philanthropy in an area YOU are passionate about, please contact Canyon Ranch Institute at 520-239-8561.