Loma Linda School of Public Health

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Nick Buettner   |   Blue Zones   |   “Blue Zones: Secrets of a Long Life” 

To find the path to long life and health, the Blue Zones team studies the world's "Blue Zones," communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. In his talk, Nick shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits-Power9®- that keep them spry past age 100. What should you be doing to live a longer life? Nick Buettner debunks the most common myths and offers a science-backed blueprint for the average American to live another 12 quality years.


Nick Buettner   |   Blue Zones   |   “The Making of A Healthy Workplace” 

Over the years, our environments have evolved in a way that makes healthy choices harder to make, resulting in poor health and well-being. Using the Power 9 principals Blue Zones helps businesses & their employees flourish as a result of creating an environment that supports healthier choices. In this session Nick Buettner will talk about the six areas that make a difference in the workplace environment with examples from some of their past work.


Karyn Buxman, RN, MS, CSP, CPAE   |   Neurohumorist   |   “Achieving Success, Significance and Happiness: Lead with Laughter!”

Ronald Reagan was a master at wielding wit on the world stage; the characters in M*A*S*H harnessed humor to retain their sanity amid horrendous conditions; and the Dalai Lama deftly leverages levity in striving for global peace. This presentation will clarify how humor can enhance the well-being of a leader, and also the well-being of those he/she leads. The early works of Dr. Vera Robinson (1991) established that the three primary functions of humor are communication, social, and psychological. When applied to communication, humor helps convey information, eases the introduction of difficult subjects and helps defuse hostile conversations. Socially, humor helps establish rapport and decreases social distance. Psychologically humor is recognized as a healthy coping mechanism, relieving anxiety and tension and serving as an outlet for hostility. In addition there are physiological effects resulting in mind-body interaction, including: decreases in muscle tension, and cortisol (a primary source of inflammation), increased levels of alertness, and more. Leaders who leverage this knowledge can utilize humor to enhance communication, boost engagement, and build resilience. Doing so can bring about increased success, improved health, and enriched happiness for leaders—and those they lead.


Sara Folta, PhD   |   Director, Strong Women - Strong Hearts, Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tuffs University   |   “StrongWomen-HealthyHearts”

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability for women in the United States, claiming nearly half a million women’s lives each year. There is a need for programs for midlife and older women to reduce risk of CVD that are evidence-based and that can be delivered in women’s own communities. To address this need, we developed the StrongWomen-HealthyHearts program at Tufts University. StrongWomen-HealthHearts is a 12-week program that includes nutrition education and skill-building, aerobic exercise, and strategies for weight control. We used an existing partnership between Tufts and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture cooperative extension network to evaluate StrongWomen-HealthyHearts in a randomized, controlled trial. With this evidence base established, we then evaluated dissemination of the program to determine if it would be readily adopted by potential class leaders, if they would maintain good fidelity to the curriculum, and if the program would remain effective as it was implemented by a greater number of leaders in a wider range of settings. We examined dissemination first in-depth in Pennsylvania and then nationally. Our results indicate that StrongWomen-Healthy Hearts can be readily implemented with high fidelity in a variety of settings while remaining effective. However, challenges include maintaining the program among adopting class leaders, and effectively reaching low-income and other underserved women. We are expanding this program through further dissemination and research, including projects to adapt the curriculum for specific populations.

Doug Goldstein   |   eFuturist   |   “Innovate Now, Smarter & Wiser” 

Healthy People and Healthy Communities depends on harnessing the power of innovation to motivate fitness, health and healthcare. Dynamic market forces are at work and offer unique opportunities if we use our common sense & wisdom. The Affordable Care Act is driving the transformation of health care as trillions of risk are shifted to ACOs and integrated healthcare providers. Consumerism empowered by mobile, social media, Big Data, gamification & behavioral economics are rapidly changing how people manage their lives (and health). Its times time for hyper-personalization, beyond psychographics and demographics to understand the “media-graphic” of the people serve. Can we create sustainable, healthy communities? This keynote and interaction will explore these dynamic trends and explore how technology, human ingenuity and a deep understanding of today’s citizens can help us make progress.

Penelope Duerksen Hughes    |   Loma Linda University   |   "Effect of Exercise on Telomere Length: Connections to Longevity"

For as long as is recorded in human history, people have desired long and healthy lives. One limitation of lifespan relates to the length of one’s telomeres, which shorten with each cell division. As these telomeres shorten, cells and tissues lose the ability to regenerate.  Hence, telomere length serves as an indicator of biological age, which may be higher or lower than one’s chronological age. Numerous studies have tied shortened telomeres to a variety of psychological and social stressors. More recently, investigators have been asking whether other factors, such a physical activity or dietary elements may act in the opposite direction by slowing telomere loss and thereby increasing expected lifespan. Accumulating evidence is now pointing toward a beneficial effect of exercise on telomere lengths, suggesting that modulation of telomere length may play a role in the connection between physical activity and healthy longevity.

Harold G. Koenig, M.D   |   
Duke University Medical Center   |   "Religion, Spirituality and Health: Research and Application"

Dr. Koenig will briefly review the research on religion, spirituality and health, and present some of the latest research from his group at Duke on use of religion in psychotherapy, the role of religious faith in caregiving, and possible effects on cellular aging, studies on which he has collaborated with Loma Linda University and Glendale Adventist Medical Center. He will then discuss the work that he is doing with Adventist Health Systems to integrate spirituality into every aspect of the health system as part of Mission through the training of physicians and spiritual care teams in outpatient and inpatient settings working with Florida Hospital and other AHS facilities.

Ernest Medina, Jr., DrPH, CHFS   |   Loma Linda University   |   "Sitting—the new smoking, and how to protect yourself"

Sitting has been called “our generation’s smoking”. While most of us in healthcare and public health pat ourselves on the back for not smoking, most of us are in jobs where we sit for most of the day. Add on top of that the commute to work, and recreation and other activities at home such as reading, working, watching the TV or surfing the Internet, and one can easily see that sitting can easily take up the majority of our waking hours. New research has come out that shows all this sitting is taking a negative toil on our health and increasing our risk for NCDs such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. This session will give an overview of that research, identify who’s at risk, and provide simple solutions on how you can protect yourself from this growing “disease”.


Chidi Ngwaba, MD   |   Founder and Director, The Lifestyle Medicine Practice   |   “Lifestyle Diseases are the biggest killers Globally, and they are no longer confined to the developed world.”

Lifestyle Diseases are the biggest killers Globally, and they are no longer confined to the developed world. This lecture seeks to set the scene for the conference by showing just how unhealthy the world has become and then showing a few innovations which can simply be applied to individuals, families, communities, cities & countries.

Julie Price, MBA    |   Social & Mobile Games for Health Creator   |   "Motivation by Gamification"

From DDR to Wii Fit to Zombies Run, exercise games provide hope that we can game our way into health. With the proliferation of console, social, and mobile fitness games, why isn't there a matching improvement in gamers' fitness levels?
Julie Price will explore the variety of fitness games and break down how they address the problems people face when trying to stick with an exercise regimen. She will identify gaps in the game experience and look at how we might incorporate what we know about exercise psychology and motivation to create new, engaging, and addicting games.
The span of fitness games may be wide, but the principles behind consistent healthy exercise are narrow by comparison. Together, we will explore the overlapping areas and see where we as players, creators, and leaders can focus our efforts to make a difference..


Charles Raison, MD   |   University of Arizona   |   “Compassion as a Path to Health and Happiness: Brain and Body”

Most of us seek happiness by approaching that which we desire, avoiding that which we dislike or fear and ignoring all the rest. This talk will present two radically different approaches to enhancing human well-being. The first approach utilizes a meditation training program that embraces conflict and frustration as a means to produce internal changes powerfully linked to happiness. Derived originally from ancient Tibetan lojong Buddhist teachings, this approach has been secularized into a technique known as Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, or CBCT. This talk will introduce the audience to the profound world view of CBCT, which is at once paradoxical and yet highly consistent with recent scientific discoveries regarding the deepest sources of human happiness and will present evidence that compassion training has the potential to optimize emotional and physical health through a variety of interrelated effects, including improving emotional and biological stress responses, and enhancing the brain’s empathic responses to others in ways that might reduce depression. The talk will conclude with preliminary data from the speaker’s research group showing that the ancient practice of “sweat lodge” may impact the brain and body in ways that increase many aspects of compassionate behavior, pointing to the truth the compassion is truly a “whole organism”, brain-body phenomenon.

Connie Rogers, PhD   |   Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University   |   "The Role of Exercise in Immune Modulation"

A growing body of evidence suggests that both physical activity (including activities of daily living) and exercise (activity for a specific purpose such as improvement of physical condition or competition) modulate components of the immune system. It is widely accepted that both acute and chronic exercise alter the number and function of circulating cells of the innate immune system (neutrophils, monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells) and the adaptive immune system (T and B lymphocytes). This exercise-induced modulation of immunity has been linked to reduced incidence and severity of upper respiratory tract infections in humans and altered susceptibility to herpes simplex and influenza virus infection in animal models. Exercise has also been shown to reduce markers of inflammation. Current studies are focused on better understanding how exercise is exerting this anti-inflammatory effect and how it can be used clinically to alleviate the effects of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration, and numerous cancers. Evidence suggests that the prophylactic effect of exercise may, to some extent, be attributed to the anti-inflammatory effect of regular exercise mediated via a reduction in obesity and/or by induction of an anti-inflammatory environment following each bout of exercise (via increases in circulating anti-inflammatory cytokines). Lastly, there is strong evidence that exercise training protects against some types of cancers (colon, breast, endometrial). Exercise enhances components of anti-tumor immunity and reduces inflammatory mediators, both of which may contribute to the cancer prevention effect of exercise. Ongoing studies in my laboratory are trying to discern the dose, duration and frequency of exercise needed to achieve the beneficial effect of exercise on immunity and if these changes in immune response with exercise underlie the protective effect of exercise on infection and tumor growth.

Robert Sallis, MD, FAAFP, FACSM   |   Kaiser Permanente, Fontana, California   |   "Exercise is Medicine; Merging Fitness with Healthcare"

Physical inactivity has an astonishing array of harmful health effects and the association between an inactive and unfit way of life persists in virtually every subgroup of the population. On the contrary, physical activity has a powerful effect on both the treatment and prevention of virtually every chronic disease, as well as obesity. As the costs associated with diseases directly caused by a sedentary lifestyle have soared, it is clear that physical inactivity is the major public health problem of our time.
If we had a pill that conferred all the benefits of exercise, we would recommend it to every patient. It is time we all started encouraging our patients to take this free medication!

Huma Shah    |   Loma Linda University   |   "Compassion in the workplace"

Compassion in the workplace is popular as it is often associated with increased patient perceptions of care quality that is measured in the widely used Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAPHS). Compassionate acts (i.e., acts of caring shown to patients and employees in the form pastoral care, recognition programs, stress reduction activities, loving language) are also known to decrease employee burn-out and strain and increase productivity and satisfaction. This session will highlight a case study on a faith based psychiatric hospital that has launched and measured initiatives over the past 7 years emphasizing organizational values, servant leadership, and Erie Chapman’s Radical Loving Care principles in order to create a culture that fosters a nurturing environment for both employees and patients. Focus group themes and survey results will be presented highlighting specific organizational practices along with challenges and recommendations.


Samuel Soret  |   Loma Linda University   |   "Healthography: Public Health of the Future"

As we move from place to place, we leave our mark on our living spaces over time. In a similar fashion, medical geographers contend that our geographies (or vital spaces) impact our health. Today, the biggest public health challenges in the United States are rooted in behavioral choices – preventable chronic diseases based largely on lifestyle. While it is true that genetics and behavior contribute to overall health status, behavior cannot be divorced from the environmental and social contexts in which it occurs. The emerging, germane fields of healthography and geomedicine are based on the premise that health has the environment of a person as its geographic context – a context, which includes the physical, socio-cultural, economic, and even the health care environment.
Healthography can be understood through the stark contrast posed between BlueZones© and ‘Gray Zones (GZ). Currently, the ‘blue zone” (BZ) paradigm is being used to underpin several emerging “socioecological” initiatives aimed at systems-based community transformations. Following this line of reasoning, BZs can be thought of as therapeutic landscapes (health-promoting places). Currently identified BZs can be used to trace the complex lifestyle-context interactions in communities where a conducive convergence of environmental, economic, and social systems supports healthy behavioral choices. The unequivocal message to be gained from studying BZs and GZs is that public health interventions and policies which are designed to improve both the individual and broader social, physical, and build environments of local residents offer far more promise for successfully reducing health inequalities and improving health outcomes. So, the big question for public health moving forward is how do individual lifestyle factors and context interact to influence people’s daily geographies? Because in a world of uncertainty, one thing is clear: when it comes to health, geography is still destiny.


Dominique Wakefield    |   La Sierra University   |   "The Active Advantage for Families"

Physical inactivity kills approximately 3.2 million people globally each year. One quarter of all people globally sit for eight hours or more per day. The average eight to ten-year old child may be in front of a screen between eight to eleven hours per day. Over recent years, the United States has experienced a significant decrease in physical activity rates among children, adolescents and adults. This presentation will showcase current research relating to the facts and consequences of physical inactivity and the many benefits of physical activity. Clear connections will be made as to how the physical inactivity epidemic affects the family unit. Furthermore, this presentation will provide ideas for practical pathways to integrate physical activity to significantly improve the quality of life for the whole family.

Wes Youngberg     |   American College of Lifestyle Medicine   |   "Chronobiology of Exercise for Men: Timing of physical activity for optimal therapeutic outcome"

Exercise is great medicine even if it doesn't fully resolve problems with obesity, lipids or blood sugar levels.

Exercise is also great medicine for those who have no need to lose weight or lower known risk factors.
Exercise is a key part of a personalized lifestyle medicine program for everyone regardless of the presence or absence of risk factors.
But most men have hidden risk factors that could be greatly improved with simple exercises done at specific times of the day.
Most adult men have at least some level of risk associated with metabolic insulin resistance. Pre-diabetes is largely driven by insulin resistance. Roughly 1/2 of men age 40 to 59 have at least pre-diabetes.
The prevalence increases to 2 out of 3 for those age 60-74, and 3 out of every 4 men for those 75 plus.
Insulin Resistance leads to higher blood sugars both before and especially after meals which then stimulates extra production of insulin and a greater potential for many chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
This session will highlight the timing of exercise that most powerfully lowers risk for these diseases. The relative value of early morning exercise will be compared to that of noon time, evening and after meal physical activity. Learn how to get the most out of a well planned exercise program.