In the second part of our interview with Dr. David Sabgir, we discuss the importance of getting your employees to make getting physical activity a routine part of their day.
David is a board-certified cardiologist with Mount Carmel Clinical Cardiovascular Specialists at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville, Ohio. He is the founder and leader of Walk with a Doc, which began in 2004. The organization puts doctors and their patients in parks across the country — and around the world — with the goal of disrupting the current medical system.
The organization has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, AARP and Medical Economics, among others. It’s also received endorsements from the U.S. Surgeon General, American College of Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic and the NRPA. David has been recognized by the American Heart Association, American College of Sports Medicine, Columbus Business First and Columbus CEO; he was also recently named a CNN Hero.
Some employers have established walking programs or walking clubs. How can companies jump on the bandwagon, and how do they go about creating a sustainable program?
Get a passionate leader, and offer a flexible environment where people are willing to make subtle adjustments to make sure it happens.
How can employers accommodate employees who are unable to walk?
Wheelchair rolling is part of the Surgeon General’s initiative and is incredibly important. Most employers have paved areas, so have walks outside in those accessible areas. The health benefits of nature — ecotherapy — are very well-proven and can work for everybody.
What about getting people involved who just don’t have the motivation?
Humor is one of our biggest things; you see that in the newsletter. But you have to find what motivates people, because everyone is different. Some people want to lose weight to look good in a swimsuit; they couldn’t care less about the health benefits. You might have another person who doesn’t care what they look like, but their sister died of breast cancer and they want to help prevent disease. There’s not a blanket answer, so you need someone caring and persistent to talk to people and find out what their motivations are.
Can you talk specifically about metrics? How do you measure the success of a walking program, and specifically, how can an employer do this?
The statistics and metrics behind exercise are so well-proven. You just need to show your numbers: How often are you getting people out, and how long are they walking?
What’s the future like for Walk with a Doc? And what’s on your horizon as a physician who’s committed to well-being?
We’re very excited about our future. We’ve got about 180 chapters, and we’re getting five requests a day from doctors to get started with these programs. We want this to be a brush fire across the U.S. We envision 1,000 sites at the end of three years. I’d like to have 5,000+ sites after it’s all said and done. It’s been an absolute gift, and we consider ourselves very lucky. I want to be doing it as often as I can.
Andrew Reinbold has been engaged with the health care marketing and communication space for over five years. He currently focuses on business-to-business content for Anthem, Inc. that is relevant to employers and brokers as they navigate the changing health care environment.