In mid-May 2015, my travels took me to the campus of Duke University to speak at the 2015 Feagin Leadership Forum. This is a wonderful invitation-only meeting that every year brings together a broad array of leaders from across the country to talk about leadership in medicine. The forum serves as the capstone even for Duke’s Feagin Leadership program, whose participants spend a year learning the principles of effective and ethical leadership in the field of medicine. The Feagin Leadership Program is named for Dr. John Feagin, a long time Duke Orthopedic Surgeon and Team Physician, who has been an outstanding mentor to an amazing cadre of medical leaders.
The Feagin Leadership Scholars are comprised of outstanding fellows, residents, and medical students who spend a year engaged in leadership development seminars, workshops, a team project, individual coaching and attendance at leadership conferences. This year’s Forum featured a diverse and outstanding group of speakers, including Alex Gorsky, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson; General (Ret) Eric Schoomaker, former Surgeon General of the Army; Jay Bilas, former Duke basketball player and ESPN host; and Mike Krzyzewski, head basketball coach at Duke.
I spoke on the need to transform heath care in America to make it more about “health” and less about “care”. Specifically, I think we need a far greater emphasis on getting patients to lead a healthy lifestyle, rather than a continued focus on pills and procedures. As I have said in this blog many times, simply getting a patient to walk for 30 minutes each day will do more for their health than any type of pill or procedure I could prescribe. For that reason, every patient should be asked how much they are walking at every visit and doctors should prescribe walking as the first line treatment for virtually every chronic medical condition. If your doctor is not asking you how much exercise you do each week, then you should be asking them about how exercise can improve your health. And I was amazed at the positive responses I got, despite delivering this message at a high tech medical center like Duke University. It is clear that all of us in medicine recognize the limited impact we can have on the health of patients who live a toxic lifestyle. We all need to work to change the environment in this country to make daily walking and healthy eating the easy thing to do.
Of course, during my visit to Durham I got out for some great walks. I stayed at the beautiful Washington Duke Inn, which is just across the street from campus. From there I was able to spend several hours walking and jogging thru campus, as the weather was sunny and mild. Duke University is a beautiful place with amazing facilities. I especially enjoyed a visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the 2015 NCAA basketball champions, who were crowned at the game I attended last month in Indianapolis.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope that you are healthy and walking each day!