The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, July 16, 2009, Page Page 8, Image 8

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Page 8
The INDEPENDENT, July 16, 2009
Summer is time to walk to health
To Your Health!
By Judy Hargis, P.A., and Audeen Wagner
A Visionary Approach to Providing Health Care
to Underserved Communities.
What began as a conversation to look at possible solutions to
addressing a critical need for more healthcare professionals in ru-
ral and underserved communities developed into the Pacific
Northwest’s first new medical school in 60 years. Pacific
Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), in Yakima,
Washington, opened its doors to its first class of 75 Medical stu-
dents on August 4, 2008.
The mission is to train, educate and encourage scientific re-
search for health professionals who will provide quality care to all
communities of the Pacific Northwest, particularly underserved
communities with populations less than 20,000. The goal is to train 75 new primary care physicians
per year; they are off to a great start with the first class of students finishing their first year of train-
ing recently.
I had the privilege of spending time at the school a few weeks ago. I was impressed by the qual-
ity of the faculty, which included practicing allopathic and osteopathic physicians. The school has
state of the art equipment and is located in an area where they can expand as they grow. What is
most impressive is the vision and commitment, of everyone involved, to train a new generation of
doctors who will serve the needs of those living in the non-urban communities and rural areas of
Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Five million people are considered at risk in the
underserved populations in these regions. In Washington alone, 36 of 39 counties are considered
underserved populations. The focus of PNWU will be on improving overall health through preven-
tion rather than a disease approach model. The goal is to create a collaborative model that teams
physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other allied health professionals who will work togeth-
er to create better health outcomes for patients.
We need change in our health care system. We are all aware that it is broken and inadequate.
Our current system is not working. The rates of obesity and chronic medical problems have in-
creased dramatically. These health issues are exacerbated in areas without adequate healthcare re-
This is an exciting and visionary path to educating our future health care professionals and will
have a significant impact on the health and well being of many individuals and communities in the
Pacific Northwest. This is a big first step towards creating healthier communities and bringing posi-
tive change to our current
healthcare climate. The goal to
improve the overall physical
Join the National Psoriasis you need and live successfully
and mental health in these
communities is timely and long Foundation and Andrew Blau- with psoriasis. The event also
velt, M.D., for a thought-pro- includes a complimentary
We will keep you posted on voking event, “Psoriasis: More breakfast.
This free event begins at
this from time to time. As al- Than Skin Deep.” You’ll learn
ways, you can contact us at about treatment options, how 9:00 a.m. August 8, at the Port-
The Independent, at health to advocate for the treatments land Marriott City Center,
Willamette Columbia Room,
520 SW Broadway, Portland.
For more information or to
RSVP, go to www.psoriasis.
org/ morethanskindeep or call
Psoriasis information on August 8
Don’t let this summer’s heat
melt your resolve to be physi-
cally active.
You can get started and stay
motivated throughout the warm
season – with health and safe-
ty tips from the American Heart
Association’s Start! Summer
Walking Guide.
The free guide, available at,
stretching techniques and tips
on what to wear, when and
where to walk, and what to eat
before and after you walk. For
example, it’s best to pick a time
that you can regularly commit
to all summer. It’s also best to
avoid walking early in the after-
noon, when the sun is at its
strongest and you’re at the
greatest risk for heat stroke.
You can also walk in the mall,
join a gym or walk in a building
at work.
The American Heart Associ-
ation encourages walking –
ideally for at least 30 minutes a
day – because it’s free, acces-
sible and easy.
“Walking helps combat obe-
sity, a major risk factor for heart
disease, the nation’s No. 1
killer”, said Maureen Mays,
M.D., M.S., Director of Preven-
tive Cardiology at Oregon
Health & Science University.
“The Start! Summer Walking
Guide helps people kick up
their walking programs and is
full of helpful tips and walking
stretches to get you off on the
right foot”.
To get the free Start! Sum-
mer Walking Guide, download-
able walking plans, tips and
trackers and a community of
“sole mates” to help you stay
on track, call 503-233-0100 or
Start! is sponsored locally by
Oregon Health & Science Uni-
versity and nationally by SUB-
WAY® Restaurants, Healthy
Choice® and AstraZeneca.
Seniors: Get help to buy produce
Almost 25,000 low-income
Oregon seniors are getting
help to buy fresh fruits and veg-
etables from local farmers mar-
kets and farm stands, but some
17,000 additional seniors are
eligible but haven’t signed up
yet, according to the Oregon
Department of Human Ser-
vices. State officials are urging
eligible seniors not to miss their
window of opportunity and sign
up before the September 15
“We want to make sure
every eligible senior knows that
there is help available to en-
sure they are getting fresh and
healthy local produce,” says
Lauren Mitchell, who helps
oversee the program.
The state has sent more
than 42,000 eligible Oregon
seniors invitations to partici-
pate in the federally funded
Oregon Senior Farm Direct Nu-
trition Program, which runs an-
nually from June 1 to October
31, and would like to make sure
all seniors know about the ben-
efit. To be eligible, seniors must
have turned 60 by April 1,
2009, receive Food Stamps or
Medicaid, have a monthly in-
come below $1038 for an indi-
vidual, and live in their own
home or rental unit.
“Those who sign and return
the letter to DHS by Sept. 15
will receive farm direct checks
that can be used at any partici-
pating farm stand or farmer’s
market in Oregon through the
end of October,” says Mitchell.
Participants also receive in-
formation on authorized farm
stands and farmers markets in
their area and nutritional infor-
mation, including recipes and
tips to healthy eating.
“This is one of our most pop-
ular programs, and it really is a
win-win for seniors and local
farmers,” says Mitchell. “Every-
one who is eligible should sign
and return the letter, and enjoy
the benefits of fresh produce
and healthy eating.”
The program, now in its sixth
year, is administered by DHS in
partnership with the Oregon
Department of Agriculture and
the Public Health Division.
“Some of the comments I’ve
received have been heartwarm-
ing,” says Mitchell. “I heard
from an 80-year-old woman
who credits her and her 90-
year-old husband’s longevity to
a diet high in fruits and vegeta-
bles, and I’ve heard from many
seniors who say the program
lets them buy fresh produce
they normally can’t afford.”
For more information on the
program, contact your local of-
fice serving seniors and people
with disabilities http:// www.ore-
dex.shtml .