About Us

Since 2003 and through various forms (Yoga & Health Workshops, Harlem Center for Healthy Living, Harlem Wellness Center) our wellness space has been a place of safety, personal care and development in a stressful and chaotic world. It is a true community of HEART in Harlem where the intention is to offer gifted and inspired instructors space to become allies in health for body, mind and soul.


To educate, motivate and support life-long healthy living practices in Harlem. Health disparity is addressed through multiple holistic entry points that include youth recreation, diverse group exercise classes, innovative healthy eating education, mindfulness meditation, bodywork, holistic retreats, personal development seminars and community building. In addition to being a wellness hub in Harlem, the Harlem Wellness Center takes programming on the road to serve our most vulnerable populations in community centers, senior residences, public schools, shelters, and public housing.

Why we do it

Harlem has had high mortality rates since the 1960s, with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes as leading causes of death. The risk of developing these chronic diseases is increased with weight. Looking at Harlem, a 2006 study found 39% of adults are obese (vs 19% in Manhattan), 33% are overweight, 9/10 adults report eating less than the recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and 48% of adults report not exercising at all.

Lower-income minority individuals have significantly higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the general population. In making it possible for all to participate in our center and by encouraging healthy eating and fitness, the Harlem Wellness Center aims to reverse that trend.

To address the exponentially high rate of adult onset diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, CAD) spurred on by unhealthy lifestyle habits in Harlem, NY. Improve the longevity and quality of life for Harlem residents at greatest risk.

While multi-million dollar developments are springing up in Harlem, many longtime residents continue be vulnerable as a result of the harsh socio-economic realities related to the decades of disinvestment in the historic community of Harlem.

The rates of adult onset diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, CAD) spurred on by unhealthy lifestyle habits are exponentially high in Harlem as compared to all other areas on the island of Manhattan. Through awareness, support, education and programming the Harlem Wellness Center, in its various iterations has successfully fought to improve the longevity and quality of life for Harlem residents at greatest health risk.


JOY, GROWTH & HEALING Harlem Wellness Center is a safe, warm, positive community. We cultivate and practice understanding, kindness, fairness, and respect as a means to facilitate joy, growth, healing, and relief from the strife of the world.

LONGEVITY, QUALITY OF LIFE & HEALTH PARITY We go beyond opening our doors to give access to our services by actively outreaching and delivering programming off site to build a bridge between the HWC and those least likely to seek out our services. We are committed to leveling the playing field for balance, quality and longevity by addressing health disparity.

COMMUNITY, SERVICE & FELLOWSHIP A community weaving our unique selves and gifts in the fabric of the mission. By sharing our time, talent and financial resources we hope to create healing and wholeness in our lives, community and the world.

About the Director

As the Founder and Director of Harlem Wellness Center, Vivian W. Kurutz is committed to building community around health and wellness. To execute Harlem Wellness Center’s mission, Vivian has cultivated a team of exceptional certified health and wellness professionals that are inspired by and committed to serving the Harlem community in our unique way. In 2003, Vivian began leading community yoga and healthy living workshops. Prior to launching Harlem Wellness Center, Vivian founded and ran Harlem Center for Healthy Living for five years (2008-2013). All of her endeavors in this area have been focused on inspiring healthy lifestyles to improve the longevity and quality of life for all.