The doctor is in: Emory hospital’s health programs serve the public
by Davia L. Mosley
dmosley@mdjonline.com
March 07, 2011 12:00 AM | 1766 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tonya Long, Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna marketing director, looks over new material for an upcoming class with Dr. Kovacic. <br> Photo by Todd Hull
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SMYRNA - Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna offers community health programs for the public. Tonya Long, director of marketing/public relations, says a variety is available to suit the needs of people of varying ages and backgrounds.

Seminars and screenings are led by a mix of health-care professionals from the hospital and in the community. Long says the greatest benefit to the community is the opportunity for people to interact with health-care professionals, ask questions and to get another perspective. "There's a feeling that you can help someone better their health and get the most out of their life," she said.

Blood pressure and prostate-specific antigens screenings and sessions on healthy eating are among program topics that have been presented at the hospital. Long says participants range from people in their 20s to the elderly and classes range from 30-40 people.

Waldo Jones of Smyrna has been attending the programs for more than a year. He says the programs are "enlightening." He appreciates the opportunity to hear a health-care professional discuss a specific issue and the ability to ask questions.

"You can never tell what (will) come up," he said. "It's kind of interesting."

In addition to the sessions, Jones says the screenings are beneficial and have a fairly modest cost.

"I really can't overemphasize the idea of listening to these physicians and getting some insight into how they think," he said. "Where in the world are you going to have a professional in his field sit for an hour, hour and a half, be willing to take any and all questions and give a good lecture like that at literally no cost, other than the time to sit there? I think it's a very nice gift of those physicians and the Emory-Adventist organization."

Long said program participants provide feedback often, even saying how the programs helped them to discover serious health news. After attending a prostate-specific antigen blood test screening, one participant took his results to his doctor. Long said the man was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but it was discovered early enough for successful treatment.

The hospital uses many techniques to spread the word about the programs, including a direct mail piece to nearly 30,000 people. They also place flyers at local places such as community centers, libraries and senior centers. However, Fran White, D.C. Ed., learned about the program after a visit to the emergency room.

"On Jan. 26, I found myself in the Emory-Adventist emergency room with my husband," she said. "My husband had been complaining about having a severe headache. It was discovered that his blood pressure level had reached stroke-level reading."

White said the doctor said her husband has hypertension disease. As she walked around the waiting room, she said she saw a brochure about the classes. "I immediately called the number on the brochure (and) left a message about my interest in attending the class on high blood pressure," she said.

White said the class was helpful. "The information on reading your blood pressure and the warning levels really helped me track my husband's pressure," she said. "Also, I learned that everyone does not have the same 'safe' blood pressure level."

White said she plans to attend more programs. "I am so thankful for these programs. I see myself as an active participant in many other programs being offered," she said. "This is an easy, cost-effective way to learn about being and staying healthy."

LaDonna Strickland attended the same blood pressure program and said she wanted to learn as much as she could in order to keep control of her blood pressure.

"I learned that some of the medication I am taking works better if I take at night rather than morning," she said. "Also, exercising 30 minutes a day makes a difference. I can handle 30 minutes." She said she plans to attend future programs.

Nearly 10 classes are offered each quarter. Long said registration is strongly encouraged, but they do try to accommodate all guests.

Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna is located at 3949 S. Cobb Drive. For more information, call (770) 437-6913, visit www.emoryadventist.org or search "Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna" at www.Facebook.com.

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