‘Walk with a Doc’ in Cabarrus gets people moving
Friday, Mar. 28, 2014

‘Walk with a Doc’ in Cabarrus gets people moving

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/05/11/52/OJFN.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Angela Graham, left, of Kannapolis asks a question of cardiologist Dr. Kevin Kruse, right, and Donna Perry, center, of Salisbury listens as they begin the 30-minute walk that’s part of every meeting of the “Walk with a Doc” program at Les Myers Park in Concord.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/05/11/52/1bzffb.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Kruse, left, and surgeon Dr. Medhat Takla, second from left, lead the group during the “Walk with a Doc” program at Les Myers Park on March 1.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/03/05/11/52/WJGKF.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Cecilia Plez, clinical research coordinator II with the Duke-Murdock Study, explains the benefits of quinoa, a whole grain that is grown in the Andes, to the group at the “Walk with a Doc” program at Les Myers Park in Concord.

Giving people in the Cabarrus area a chance to chat with doctors while learning about healthy foods and lifestyle habits is what “Walk with a Doc” is all about.

Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Kruse brought the international program to Concord to help patients and doctors interact while encouraging exercise.

“I wanted to give the patients a chance to talk with a doctor outside of the hurried, clinical constraints of the doctor’s office,” said Kruse. “You hear patients say they wished they had more time with their doctors, and this gives them that opportunity.”

The free program meets at 8:45 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month at Paul’s Kitchen Shelter in Les Myers Park, 338 Lawndale Ave., Concord.

The program usually draws about 35 participants, Kruse said. The group doesn’t meet in January, February, July or August due to extreme weather conditions. It also does not meet if it is raining. The next walk will be April 5, weather permitting.

Each program has an educational component. It begins with a discussion on healthy eating habits, along with recipes for the participants to take home. After the walk, each participant receives recipes, a banana and water.

At one program, a patient for whom Kruse had done an emergency stent installation only a week before came to ask questions about his medications before his scheduled follow-up appointment with Kruse.

A stent installation is an operation in which a surgeon puts a stent – a tiny tube – in an artery to open it up and return normal blood flow, often after obstructed blood flow has caused a heart attack.

“Sometimes there are specific medical questions, and sometimes we just get to know each other better,” said Kruse. “Some of these people know about my children, and I now know about theirs.”

Kruse witnessed “Walk with a Doc” in Charlotte and wanted to bring it to the people of Cabarrus County. Co-sponsored by Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute (SHVI) and the Duke-Murdock Study team, the program began locally in 2013.

Before the first meeting in September, fellow SHVI cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Medhat Takla and cardiologist Dr. Paul Campbell joined Kruse on the project.

Mike Lippard, manager of Carolinas Medical Center – NorthEast’s Health and Fitness Institute, helped set things in motion, organizing the events and encouraging patients from the cardiac rehab program to attend, Kruse said.

Dr. Anu Ha and her husband, Dr. Victor Ha, of Cabarrus Family Medicine complete the group of doctors who come to walk and talk with the participants.

On March 1 Cecilia Plez, clinical research coordinator II at the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, began the program by telling the group about the advantages of quinoa.

Quinoa, a whole grain that is grown in the Andes mountains of South America and has a nutty taste, is gluten-free and offers more nutrients than most other grains.

Walt Jakubek, who was returning to the group for the third time, turned up his nose after looking at the quinoa that Plez had prepared. Plez said, “Try it and you may fall in love with it. It could turn into a long-term relationship, lengthening your life.”

After the brief discussion, the group walks for 30 minutes and present questions to the doctors during the walk. The goal is to encourage participants to continue to exercise at least three times a week while making healthier food choices.

“We encourage people of all ages and ability levels to attend,” Kruse said. “We have had some people who jog past us, and one lady who came with her walker. She needed some assistance, but she walked with us.

“I am excited about the enthusiasm by the patients, and this has accomplished what we set out to do,” he said. “It has given us the ability to connect with our patients in a non-clinical environment while emphasizing the attitude that we need to walk for a healthier life.”

The “Walk with a Doc” program was founded by cardiologist Dr. David Sabgir in 2005 at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It is now offered in 29 states, Australia, Canada and Russia.

For more information on “Walk with a Doc” visit www.walkwithadoc.org.

Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at mprice1@vnet.net.

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more