Wellness Programming: Looking for Suggestions

Photo Mar 10, 5 01 20 PM







I need your help with a project at work.  Today, I’m looking for your suggestions about “wellness programming.”  I’m on a mission to learn.

The university medical center where I work recently acquired a local fitness center operation here in Jackson, Mississippi.  Its 4 branch facilities are being re-branded as University Wellness Centers.

Some of the readers here may know that academic medical centers are filled with committees–committees of the medical school, committees of the hospital, joint committees, ad hoc committees, etc.  The list seems endless.  For faculty members, there’s ordinarily a constant rotation of committee assignments.

Finally, I’ve gotten a new committee assignment that I’m looking forward to!  I’m one of a group of physicians who will serve on a physician advisory board for the new Wellness Centers.  We had our first meeting the other day and I’m excited about the possibilities.

One of our charges is to advise the Wellness Center management team about wellness programming.  I think this is a terrific opportunity to help improve the health of our community.  I’m looking for ideas that would:

  • Improve cardiovascular health in our community
  • Make use of the expertise and resources at our medical center
  • Provide fellowship and promote a sense of community
  • Be fun for the participants.

I’ll give you one example of what I’m talking about–the Heart to Start program at Providence Health & Services in Oregon.  Developed by James Beckerman, M.D., and now organized at two sites in the Portland area, the program enrolls participants in a 13-week training plan to walk or run in a 5k, 10k, or half marathon event.  This free program includes workout plans, heart-healthy resources, and a supportive online community.  Participants can participate in person or virtually on Facebook.  The photographs tell the story here–many smiling faces at the finish line.

This is just one program that has caught my attention.  Perhaps you’re aware of other programs in your own community.  Maybe you’ve participated.  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Please leave a comment or send me an email with your suggestions.

Related Posts:

  1. Book Review: Heart to Start

Jack LaLanne, Fitness Enthusiast, 1914-2011

Jack LaLanne was an original–pop fitness enthusiast, nutritionist, and advocate of healthier living. He’l be remembereed as one of the most important influences on Americans’ thinking about exercise, health, and nutrition during the 20th century.
Sadly, LaLanne died of respiratory failure and pneumonia on January 23, 2011 at his home in Morro Bay, California, at the age of 96.
Growing up in California, LaLanne took an interest in fitness after a childhood upbringing that was not entirely healthy. He would open one of this country’s first fitness centers in Oakland, California, in 1936. There would eventually be many such fitness centers that bore his name.
LaLanne was a staunch advocate of exercise and proper nutrition as means to better health. He wrote several books, developed a variety of exercise machines, and hosted a television program for more than 30 years. In the process, he reached an audience of millions of Americans, coaxing them off the couch. He did a lot of good.
Interestingly, LaLanne underwent heart valve surgery at the age on 95. Details of that operation haven’t been widely reported, but I understand that he had aortic valve replacement–probably for aortic stenosis. It’s an operation that we perform for patients of almost any age with severe narrowing of the heart valve. Like most patients, he made a good recovery from that operation in spite of his advanced age.
Jack LaLanne was one-of-a-kind. We’ll miss him.