The preventive care program in the department of health promotion and education is running a new wellness clinic that helps community members attain better health, while also providing experience for the students who guide them.
The clinic specializes in lifestyle assessment and counseling based on a comprehensive view of the clients as physical, mental, social, and spiritual beings. The staff—preventive care doctoral students and director Hildemar Dos Santos, DrPH—evaluate clients’ diet, exercise habits, and stress levels.
They also perform physical assessments ranging from respiratory capacity to flexibility to bioelectric impedance analysis. The last uses a machine called the InBody 520 to measure basal metabolic rate, percentage of body fat, body water balance, and several other indicators of physical well-being. Clients also fill out a questionnaire that is analyzed to produce a comprehensive computerized wellness profile.
Client Gail Doss and her personal trainer used the resulting data to tailor her workouts to her body’s specific needs.
“I am not aware of this type of testing at any other gym or doctor’s office that I have visited,” says Ms. Doss.
The clinic’s approach is to motivate clients to perceive any problems and make changes to address them, rather than pushing ideas onto the clients.
“We try to help them to find healthy behaviors that are practical and within their level of reach, not something artificial or complicated or too far from their normal life,” says Dr. Dos Santos, who is also an assistant professor in the preventive care program.
The goal at the clinic is to see improved health in clients as they implement the changes. The system is set up for clients to receive four visits spread throughout one year.
“The most important part is seeing how clients have progressed when they return for follow-up visits,” says Dr. Dos Santos.
DrPH students Modupe Aina, MD, and Michael Paalani, MS, both work in the clinic. They point out that it gives them practice empowering clients through assessments and lifestyle counseling, adding that such clinics are needed to stave off health problems and disease.
The clinic opened in January and is located at LLU’s fitness facility, the Drayson Center. The preventive care program plans to start group sessions in the future, and eventually, a related weight-control clinic.