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TODAY news for Thursday, October 29, 2007

School of Public Health news

Patients achieve well-being at Center for Health Promotion

Thomas Head waits as Christine Binus, RN, prepares for his treadmill test. Ms. Binus is also a master�s degree student in the School of Public Health.
Thomas Head waits as Christine Binus, RN, prepares for his treadmill test. Ms. Binus is also a master’s degree student in the School of Public Health.
The Center for Health Promotion (CHP) is a medical clinic of a different kind. The focus is on preventing disease and maintaining wellness. 

“We offer more than just a quick fix for a current health problem,” says Dominique Fradin-Read, MD, MPH, a staff physician. “We provide our patients with in-depth analysis of the causes and triggers of unhealthy habits and illness.”

The center’s interdisciplinary team offers holistic care, integrating lifestyle training, natural therapies, medical procedures, and psychology. Compassion and empathy are also integral to their approach to patients.

“Each patient is met with a smile, a listening ear, respect, and the best medical care possible,” says Warren Peters, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Health Promotion.

The Center for Health Promotion is also different because it is anchored within a school of public health.

“Public health and clinical medicine do go arm in arm,” says David Dyjack, DrPH, dean of the School of Public Health. “Public health focuses on surveillance and prevention, and so does the medical care offered at the Center for Health Promotion.”

As part of its preventive medicine focus, the medical team at the Center for Health Promotion conducts almost 100 executive physicals per month.

“This is the best picture of someone’s health available in the Inland Empire,” says Wayne Dysinger, MD, one of the physicians at the CHP. “It generally includes a comprehensive history and physical, a computerized health risk assessment, and appropriate laboratory and other tests.”

Thomas Head, a patient from Corona, California, recently came to the Center for Health Promotion after seeing how his wife’s health improved while she was a patient there.

“If it helps me 1 percent of what it’s helped her, that will be awesome,” says Mr. Head.

In addition to physicals and lifestyle medicine, the CHP also offers women’s health care, travel immunizations, health care for Loma Linda University students, nutrition counseling, and weight management. The Center is currently exploring partnerships, both within the Loma Linda University family and without, that will allow even more people to benefit from the center’s expertise in controlling weight.

“Weight management is increasingly important for the survival of the human race,” says Dr. Peters.

On any given day, the team at the Center for Health Promotion includes three physicians, three registered nurses, a nurse manager and six assistants, plus support staff. A dietitian, behavioral psychologist, and exercise physiologist are also in the office several days per week.

The Center for Health Promotion allows for a marriage of the clinical and academic facets of medicine and public health.

Adam Arechiga, PsyD, DrPH, was a preventive care student in the School of Public Health who gained hands-on experience in the CHP. He went on to graduate and take a job as assistant professor of psychology in the LLU School of Science & Technology.

“The strength of working in a place like the Center for Health Promotion is that you are able to apply some of the very tools that you learn as a public health student,” says Dr. Arechiga.

According to Dr. Peters, several students from various departments in the School of Public Health have completed projects based on CHP data.

“My public health dissertation examined obesity treatment, and the Center for Health Promotion was one of the main sites for my data collection,” says Dr. Arechiga. “I couldn’t have completed my dissertation without the center.”

The CHP got its start in the 1970s in Nichol Hall as an executive health program, offering comprehensive physical exams to well people who wanted to stay that way. It also provided a clinical site for the SPH doctoral students.

In the early 1980s, the program took on the name Center for Health Promotion, and in 1985 it moved to its current location in Evans Hall.

At times during its history, the CHP has also been affiliated with the broader University and Loma Linda University Medical Center. Today, it is administratively and financially tied to the School of Public Health.

“The Center for Health Promotion is probably the nation’s longest-running viable clinic of this type,” says Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, chancellor of Loma Linda University, former dean of the School of Public Health, and a physician at the CHP. “Many institutions have tried to start preventive medicine clinics and have not succeeded. Ours has succeeded.”

By Heather Reifsnyder

TODAY news for Thursday, October 29, 2007