Knowledge is power is a well-known saying. It can also translate into better health.
Thus, the Kaiserman JCC, in conjunction with Lankenau Hospital, is offering a series of public lectures under the collective title, “Centered on Your Health.” This series features doctors from Lankenau speaking on such topics as nutrition, heart health, back pain, sports concussions, acid reflux and prostate cancer.
Also on hand at the lectures is a personal trainer. “We’re a health club and a community center,” said Marti Berk, JCC’s membership and marketing director. Thus, the project’s purpose is to help members make healthy choices in exercise and nutrition so they can prevent future problems, as well as treat those that develop.
Clearly, the lectures are meeting a need. Berk noted that at the first presentation, on nutrition, given by Dr. Madelaine R. Saldivar, medical director, Lankenau Clinical Care Center, scheduled (as are all the presentations) for an hour, it stretched to two hours and received many favorable comments.
“We try to make our events accessible to the public and engage the community,” says Bridget Therriault of Main Line Health System, of which Lankenau is a part. She cites other community-based programs that Main Line Health has conducted, including a film series in cooperation with Bryn Mawr Hospital and Bryn Mawr Film Institute.
“People get to know that MLHS is not just there to provide hospital care for those who are sick, but to help people stay well, to be a friendly face that comes to them,” Therriault adds.
Dr. Irving Herling, director of clinical cardiology at Lankenau Medical Center and Main Line Health, and a recent speaker in the series, says he believes in the value of these information-sharing sessions.
The lectures “provide attendees with knowledge of health and lifestyle changes that largely go unaddressed.”
His own experience confirms this. “In my own practice,” he says, “people often don’t understand the process that caused the problem.”
Information is the key, he adds. Patients must know “what you are targeting, what you are trying to treat.”
For that reason, he uses “descriptive terms” people are likely to understand. For example, in his presentation last month, he drew the analogy of a blister, something most people have observed and experienced, in order to explain the role of statins.
Breaking it down in simple terms helps: Patients have told him that they understood for the first time what was going on.
Herling is not alone in his commitment to reaching patients with accessible information.
His colleague at MLHS, Dr. Scott Rushton, medical director of Lankenau Hospital’s Spine Center and a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in spine surgery, was a recent speaker. He also understands the importance of making his lectures accessible to audiences.
“My sub-specialty is so complex that even health care providers can find it confusing,” he says, so he has had to ensure that, without “talking down” to listeners, he presents his material as clearly as possible. Co-presenting with him was JCC personal trainer Jamie Kiepert, who demonstrated core strengthening Pilates exercises designed to help prevent spinal problems in the first place.
To help people stay well and be an informational resource when or if problems arise: This appears to be the common goal of the speakers, of Main Line Health System and of the Kaiserman JCC.
All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Next in the series: “Game Changer: Sports-Related Concussions (Dispelling the Shake-It-Off Syndrome),” scheduled for April 9, at 7 p.m. The speaker will be Dr. Demetri Menegos of MLHS orthopedics and sports medicine.
For information and other events on the schedule, go to: www.phillyjcc.com .