September kicked off a new program hitting the pavement in Southampton — Walk With A Doc. It started in Columbus, OH and is now a national movement. Thanks to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Maurene Hart, DO, family medicine resident, and Sabrina Trammel, DO, board certified in family medicine and a palliative medicine fellow, the walks are being held on the first Saturday of each month with a change to an indoor location during the winter months. This free — emphasis on free — activity is exactly what it sounds like: participants get to walk with a doctor.
How did you find out about this organization?
Maurene Hart: I was visiting Waco, TX and saw a banner for Walk With A Doc. I was intrigued and found out that it was a non-profit national organization started by a cardiologist in the Midwest. I had talked about it with Sabrina, and together we made the idea into a reality. We thank Dr. Shawn Cannon, chief academic officer of the residency program, for his support and generosity in funding our initiative to get this project off the ground.
Where are the doctors from?
Sabrina Trammel: The walk is sponsored by the residency program at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. Maurene is a third-year family medicine resident and I am a recent graduate of the family medicine residency program, currently pursuing a fellowship in palliative care. Each month we have a different doctor from the community as our “featured” doc of the month, but we welcome all doctors, patients, and members of the community. Doctors that are affiliated with our program are from Meeting House Lane Medical Practice and the Westhampton Primary Care Center. This past walk we had two doctors, five residents, and several medical students who accompanied us on our walk.
What are some of the conversations that happen?
ST: Each month there is a different topic picked to discuss. September’s topic was benefits of physical exercise for arthritis as well as healthy aging. Our topic for October is breast cancer information for breast cancer awareness month. Diabetes prevention, healthy holiday habits, and mental health awareness are among other topics to come. We are unable to answer personal medical questions during our walk and recommend that patients speak to their primary care providers.
What was the turnout of your first event?
MH: Our first event had a total of about 20 participants, which included community members and doctors/residents/medical students. We had patients starting at one year and up to 80 years old, but there aren’t limits.
What’s your goal in all of this?
ST: Our motto is “Walk the Talk.” We want to practice what we teach our patients, and also hope to break down the barrier between patients and physicians. We hope to build community and show our patients that we are no different than anyone else. We, too, are patients. We hope to motivate and inspire others to join us and dedicate at least one hour per month to our wellness. We have also partnered with many of the stores in the village of Southampton as well as the mayor, Jesse Warren. We have received donations from these stores, which are raffled off at each walk.
Upcoming dates are October 5, November 2, and December 7, continuing year-round on the first Saturday of every month.
Visit the Facebook group www.Facebook.com/WWADSouthampton.