The Star-Herald

Hospital launches Walk with a Doc

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Northern Light AR Gould Hospital is encouraging local residents to take a step toward better health with Walk with a Doc, a health program that brings doctors and patients together each month to walk and to chat.

Walk with a Doc is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire communities through movement and conversation.  Northern Light AR Gould Hospital has joined the program to bring it to the local community.

One of the local driving forces is Andrew Lederman, MD, a physiatrist and interventional pain specialist in the Northern Light Orthopedics practice at the hospital.  He was involved with the program when he was chief resident at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. 

“I was able to see first-hand what a big hit it was,” says Dr. Lederman. “This is a wonderful opportunity for providers and patients to interact outside of the clinical setting.  The program ties into health initiatives, but it is unique because providers are right there with you.”

According to Dr. Lederman, there are many benefits to the program, for both patients and providers.  

“It helps us create a better, more interactive relationship.  It also encourages people to get out and get active. It is much more effective to invite our patients to come walk with us than to just tell them to go to the gym. Interacting socially is a great way to start off a regular exercise program,” he said.

Increasing exercise, even moderately, can make a difference. According to the American Heart Association, walking as little as 30 minutes a day can improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, help maintain a healthy body weight and lower the risk of obesity, enhance mental well-being and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. 

This program is free and open to the public. It is intended for people of all ages and physical abilities. The walk will be held at locations that allow people to easily walk at their own pace for whatever distance they choose. Locations will also be wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. 

Dr. Lederman will lead the first Walk with a Doc session on Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Sargent Family Community Center in Presque Isle.  He will lead a brief talk about the program as well as ways to restore functional ability and way of life. This will be followed by a walk around the track. People can walk as long as they like at whatever pace they like. 

To encourage people to continue walking, the hospital will provide free pedometers to those who attend the Jan. 28 session to more easily keep track of their steps.  Other prizes and rewards will be presented as the program progresses through the year. 

The intent is to have a different provider lead the walk each month with a brief five-minute discussion on a health topic related to their area of care.  However, other providers and staff from the hospital will be invited to attend each session as well to take part in the walk and chat with patients. 

In February, John Raymond, PA-C, from Northern Light Heart and Lung, will lead a discussion on ways to protect your heart, followed by a walk around the Aroostook Center Mall on Tuesday, Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  

The March Walk with a Doc session will also take place at the mall during those same hours.  David Weed, DO, who heads up Northern Light Sleep Diagnostics, will lead a brief discussion on sleep-related issues prior to the March 31 walk. Details on future months will be announced as the program progresses. 

Light snacks and water will be provided at each session. Participation is free and pre-registration is not required. Simply stop by and enjoy a walk with local healthcare professionals, who will provide support and answer questions during the walk.

“Walk with a Doc is honored to team up with Northern Light AR Gould Hospital. By incorporating this program into the practice, the hospital is demonstrating an exceptional level of care and commitment to their community,” said Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist with Mount Carmel Health Systems in Columbus, Ohio, and founder of the Walk with a Doc program.  

Submitted by the Communications Office of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital.

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