New Funds Will Keep TMA Walk With a Doc Walkers Active, Informed, Healthier
By Brent Annear

 Jan. 4, 2018  

WWAD story photo Physicians in more towns and cities across Texas will be walking with patients and community members in 2018 to prevent chronic illnesses thanks to a new grant awarded to the Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF).

TMAF received a $42,625 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) that the foundation will use to help fund the 2018 Walk With a Doc (WWAD) Texas program. The goal of the BCBSTX grant is to help raise awareness about prevention and early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — diseases often prevented by an active and tobacco-free lifestyle. The Walk With a Doc Texas program supports this goal by helping physicians organize walks in their communities to encourage physical activity, reverse the consequences of a sedentary life, and improve the health and well-being of Texans.

“More Texans will be up and walking towards a healthier life thanks to this grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas,” said TMAF President Leslie H. Secrest, MD, of Dallas. “Dozens of Walk With a Doc Texas communities also will learn how to prevent diabetes and avoid the debilitating health effects that come with using tobacco.”

The funding to TMAF is among 10 grants totaling nearly $1.8 million that the BCBSTX Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) program awarded to statewide organizations to battle CKD and COPD.

“As a physician-led organization, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas understands, appreciates, and encourages programs like Walk With a Doc Texas,” said Esteban López, MD, chief medical officer, BCBSTX. “The health value of walking not only can improve a person’s physical health but their mental health as well. That’s why we are happy to help fund this program particularly as it aligns with the goal of our community investment strategy to help raise awareness about prevention and early detection of chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

The Walk With a Doc concept is simple: Physicians organize monthly walks in their communities and invite their patients, their patients’ families, and community members to join them. Walkers enjoy a refreshing and rejuvenating walk with physicians and other health care professionals, who provide a short health improvement talk before the walk and answer questions during the walk. Walk With a Doc is overseen by a national nonprofit organization to get people active and healthy, and backed by TMA in Texas. Since backing the program in 2012, TMA has expanded the Walk With a Doc program in Texas from four pilot sites to events in 42 communities across the state in 2017.

“Walking makes both physicians and their patients better. There truly is magic in motion!” said Douglas Curran, MD, TMA president-elect and leader of monthly WWAD walks in Athens, Texas. “Walk with a Doc allows physicians to set an example for our patients and spend time with them in a productive rehabilitative environment.”

With the funds provided by the BCBSTX grant, Walk With a Doc Texas will help walkers address risk factors they or their family have for CKD or COPD, including tobacco use, prediabetes, and diabetes, through educational materials offered in English and Spanish at walking events. Walk With a Doc Texas also will add more walking events in towns with a high prevalence of CKD and COPD, and will partner with local organizations to publicize events and make walkers aware of community resources.  

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation, TMA’s philanthropic arm, raises funds to support the public health and science priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine, including WWAD Texas. To learn more, visit the TMA website.

WWAD is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle to improve the health and well-being of the country. WWAD was started in 2005 by David Sabgir, MD, a board-certified cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio, who practices with the Mount Carmel Health System. To learn more and see all Texas sites, visit the WWAD website.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas — the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas — is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 80,000 physicians and health care practitioners, and 500 hospitals to serve 5 million members in all 254 counties. BCBSTX is a division of Health Care Service Corporation (which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico), the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSTX.com | Twitter.com/BCBSTX | Facebook.com/BlueCrossBlueShieldOfTexas |YouTube.com/BCBSTX

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Contact:  Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear@texmed.org

Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper@texmed.org

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Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting and timely news on health care issues and policy.

Photo copyright 2016 Texas Medical Association

Last Updated On

January 09, 2018

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TMA Foundation | Walk With a Doc

Brent Annear

Director, Media and Public Relations 

(512) 370-1381

   brent.annear@texmed.org

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Brent Annear is TMA’s director of media relations and PR. He joined TMA in 2001 after working two decades in television news. Brent and his team share TMA’s mission and vision with the world through news releases, blog and social media posts, and videos. He is a University of Texas graduate who hails from Minnesota. Brent is married and has two stepsons. He enjoys photography, golf, travel, volunteering and woodworking projects, and he is a private pilot. 

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