Walk with a Future Doc and Diversity
During the summer of 2016, I was a student intern with the Rush Heart Center for Women. My supervisor and mentor, Dr. Neelum Aggarwal, is an active member, sponsor, and leader of the Walk with a Doc programming in the Chicagoland area. In conjunction with the dedicated help of a Rush University Medical Center student, Dr. Aggarwal developed monthly walks in diverse neighborhoods throughout the city. Nearly every week, I had the opportunity to accompany Dr. Aggarwal to one of these walks and meet the enthusiastic participants.
As a neurologist, Dr. Aggarwal used the walks as a platform to discuss the importance of walking and exercise within the context of stroke risk and the greater phenomenon of the “head/heart connection.” While the weekly message of the importance of walking daily was always reinforced, Dr. Aggarwal tailored her conversations to each specific cohort of participants. The composition of every group of walkers at each Walk with A Doc site was different. The diversity of these groups was underscored by the differences in age, sex, race and ethnicity of each group of participants. In fielding the questions from the participants and directing group discussions, Dr. Aggarwal expertly directed her answers to suit the demographic of her audience. Whether it was tailoring the conversation to an older, more sedentary audience or talking about the ethic disparities in risk factors for specific chronic health conditions, Dr. Aggarwal delivered the most salient information to the Walk with a Doc participants.
Witnessing the vast diversity of the participants among the Chicagoland Walk with a Doc programs and Dr. Aggarwal’s facilitation of these walks, my personal aims as the Diversity and Inclusion co-chair for the student division of the American Medical Women’s Association have been continually revised. As an aspiring physician, Walk with a Doc has introduced me to these aforementioned disparities among patient populations. In an effort to further understand the health consequences of these disparities, I analyzed the demographic, nutrition, and lifestyle data from the responses of a large community survey investigating heart health as measured by electrophysiological testing. This is simply one example, but I am confident that talking with the Walk with a Doc participants at each respective neighborhood site about meeting their respective health needs will demand community research similar to this project.
My experience with Walk with a Doc has been truly educational and enlightening. I hope my future experiences with Walk with a Doc will continue to inform my understanding of the specific health issues various populations of walkers face. Eventually, I believe the positive benefits of Walk with a Doc will continue to extend beyond exercise and improved health of an individual in the present moment, but towards research to better address the ultimate, diverse health outcomes for every walking participant.
*Emma Fleischer, Pre Med Student Co Chair, AMWA Diversity and Inclusion Section (2016- )
Here’s to Walk with a Future Doc +:
With that, there’s no better way to introduce our newest cast member, Director of Program Development – Gina DeNucci. and lordie, she’s a good one. We came to know Gina DeNucci RN when she brought WWAD Boulder into existence a few years ago. Through her unbridled passion for others, and the assembly of a superstar team, including Dr. Nelson Trujillo, she was having 200+ guests at her WWADs. She’s a people person.
She will establish our first official outpost, Boulder, CO where she will continue to live.
We are grateful she will be watching the Super Bowl at our house (1st Annual WWAD SB Party), going on a training walk for this (!), and then, hopefully, eating at Fox in the Snow.
She’s incredible, but this part is for you.
Bob, could you turn down the lights for just a second, please?
Thank you for all the support that you have given us so we can bring in someone else (Rachael, Bryan, Jessica) with international level talent. 2 reasons.
(1)It makes waking up in the morning so much fun to have 100% confidence in our team, and (2) it brings us that much closer to our goal of transforming medicine.
Lights on, Bob.
Game on, Bob.
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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Rachael, Bryan, GINA, Jessica, David (and Bob)
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