Everyone’s Path Will Be Different

Maria Escalera is measured by Patti Jo Manhart, clinical assistant manager for the Green Valley Center for Primary Care.

For one man, it was all about losing weight and getting in shape. A woman explained that her brother’s stroke and a family history of diabetes served as a wake-up call. Yet another said it was finally time to make time for herself, after a lifetime of caring for others in her family.

Everyone’s path is different, but there was one thing this group had in common: participation in NorthBay Healthcare’s seven-week Journey to Health course.

Created and facilitated by a doctor, a psychologist, a physical therapist, dietitians and a team of nurses, the pilot program launched in the spring and by summer was a full-fledged success. “Most people want to be healthy, but sometimes get lost along the way,” explains Shahzad Anwar, M.D., one of the program’s creators. “They might need just a little extra guidance to make better choices and get back on track. I’m hoping this course can help them learn to take better care of themselves and their families.”

Dr. Anwar wanted to design a program that would promote exercise and fitness and make it part of a patient’s medical treatment plan. He began meeting with others at NorthBay who were interested in partnering on the program, and a year later, Journey to Health was born.

“It is absolutely something I recommend for all patients and families so that they may enjoy the benefits of exercise and receive the social, mental and physical benefits one can achieve through a healthy lifestyle,” he says.

Dr. Anwar has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a fitness specialist. “If someone thinks they’re too old or out of shape to exercise, I have some ideas that might surprise them,” he says.

A fall series begins Sept. 19, with different topics slated every Thursday, ending Oct. 31. Cost is $60 per person, or $100 for a couple for the seven-week course. The program includes classes on nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and stress management, according to organizers Cathy Ono, R.N., and Tiffany Montoya, R.N., both Primary Care Health Coordinators.

Other highlights include strengthening exercises and a shopping excursion that teaches “students” how to read labels and purchase the healthiest choices.

Each series begins with a flurry
of health assessments, which include taking measurements and weight, chatting with all the physicians and presenters and setting goals.

“Congratulations,” Tiffany told a recent class. “You’ve made a great decision to start your journey to good health. We’re here to help you find your way.”

Sylvia Murillo, medical assistant, measures the height of Shelley Long, a participant in NorthBay Healthcare’s seven-week Journey to Health course.

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