Robyn received a flyer about Yale New Haven Hospital Get a healthy walk and talk with a doc thanks to her employer’s wellness program six years ago. Over the years she worked on her weight control and was open to such offers as she engaged in other health events such as free Zumba classes, yoga workshops and many more. ‘others. These classes were always one-time offerings, but Walk & Talk with a Doc is weekly and convenient for Robyn because it’s just a few blocks from her home.
Walk & Talk with a Doc is a weekly opportunity to bring the community and healthcare providers together to engage in healthy activity. Launched in 2016, Walk & Talk with a Doc is a collaboration between Yale New Haven Hospital, Get a healthy scan and the Yale Primary Care Internal Medicine and Medicine/Pediatrics Residency Programs at YNHH. Doctors volunteer to be present and available to provide informal health-related information, including the “Medical Minute,” which covers a specific topic in depth each week.
The walkers meet every Saturday from May to September at 9:00 a.m. New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church in New Haven, Connecticut. Walks begin at the corner of Starr Street and Shelton Avenue and proceed along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, heading north towards Hamden. Walks last about an hour and generally cover about two miles. The Canal Trail provides an easy, flat walking path that minimizes street crossings while touring the Newhallville neighborhood of New Haven and parts of South Hamden. The walks are free and open to everyone, regardless of their level of fitness.
Newhallville is a historically underfunded community facing poor health outcomes. The objective is therefore to engage the members of our community around physical activity. We aim to attract walkers through the presence of doctors and an active group experience. In this way, we promote healthy activity and provide useful health information in an informal, non-clinical setting. We also hope to make our walkers more comfortable talking to their own doctor. An added value is the opportunity for physicians to get to know the community in which their patients live.
The Walk & Talk with a Doc experience is one of public health and community engagement. Participating physicians delivered “medical minute” topics ranging from the safe storage and disposal of pharmaceuticals, the importance of fiber in the diet, the effects of exercise on mental health and much others. Impromptu discussions often take place, sparking helpful conversations about healthy sleep habits, menopause and aging, and the effects of diet on cholesterol and heart health.
For Robyn, these weekly walks have become a way to bring her friends and colleagues together on Saturday mornings to move, and not just during scheduled walks. Robyn now walks almost every day, year-round, and encourages others to do the same.
We invite physicians to volunteer to lead the walks and work closely with resident leaders on planning. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer, please contact Andrew Orefice at [email protected] or call (203) 688-5671.
By: Andrew Orefice, Program Coordinator, Walk & Talk with a Doc