Walking, Talking, Ward 8 Visualizing at the Walking Summit

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Walking Summit Ward 8 Walk and Talk Washington DC USA00281

Walking Summit Ward 8 Walk and Talk Washington DC USA00281 Left to Right: Rosemary Agostini, MD, Kim Holland, MD, Group Health Cooperative, Jojo Cambronero, Seattle Police Department (View on Flickr.com)

Sometimes you can’t take people passionate about walking anywhere — that is, unless you are interested in changing everything, then you should go with them everywhere šŸ™‚ .

Thanks to community colleague Khadijah Tribble (@TribbleME) and fellow organizers, a group of nurses, doctors, law enforcement professionals, and other civic leaders walked in Washington, DC’s Ward 8.

If you don’t know what is meant about Ward 8, not to worry, the blog way-back machine will bring you back to my very first meeting with Khadijah, where she walked us through her community (see: The People of Washington, DCā€™s Anacostia are Building a Culture of Health ).

What I love about yesterday, though, is that Khadijah instructed us to not focus on what wasn’t right with the community as we walked it. Instead, she asked us to focus on its beauty. And there’s a lot of beauty.

We were joined by a team from Seattle, including my physician colleagues Rosemary Agostini, MD, and Kim Holland, MD, who are community health evangelists as part of the magical health system of the future, Group Health Cooperative (@GroupHealth). They’ve been doing a ton of work to engage people around walking in their city, and have engaged collaborators in the Seattle Police Department, who also joined us.

And that’s when our learning experience went to the next level…

In true Rosemary Agostini fashion, she engaged a group of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department officers in Congress Heights to talk about community and engagement and safety. As you can tell from the photographs, it was a meaningful, authentic conversation.

On the way back to Ward 6, I got to learn about how community engagement and crime fighting work together to support a healthy community.

As it was said to me, “you don’t get information from people when you arrest them, you learn by engaging them.”

As usual, I see a lot of similarities to medicine and health care – disease fighting (or disease pre-emption) + member, patient, community involvement go a long way to understanding what creates health, and what prevents it.

I was really impressed by what I saw, by all the people involved. I obviously love learning, and I love learning how similar our perspectives are when it comes to ensuring that every person and community achieves their full potential. What is health care here for, and law enforcement, and civic leaders, and …. šŸ™‚

Advocates & Enthusiasts Walk This Way at Annual Summit in Washington, D.C.

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WalkingIf you live in Washington, D.C. and noticed more ambulatory activity in your hometown this week, there’s good reason.

The 2013 Walking Summit (hosted by the Every Body Walk! Collaborative and Kaiser Permanente) took place in our nation’s capitol this week, drawing together walking enthusiasts, activists and community leaders to address the importance and many health benefits of walking just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Another big topic at the summit: Addressing the challenges to walking presented by infrastructure, and how to create safer and more walkable communities.

Participants attempted to reach the core of what makes communities walkable, and what motivates individuals to walk every day. They recognized that a multitude of factors impact the walkability of communities, often making daily walks challenging for individuals. The Summit provided a unique opportunity for leaders and advocates to discuss how to develop walking strategies, increase momentum for current walking movements, showcase best practices from their own communities, and make a commitment together to achieve healthier cities nationwide.

Summit speakers included U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin (2009-2013); mayor of Washington, D.C., Vincent Gray; and Kaiser Permanente Chairman George Halvorson. Attendees also were treated to a dance-walk led by the Dance Walk Guru Master, who has been featured on national news outlets, to get them up and moving during the conference.

For more information on walking and walkable communities, please visit www.everybodywalk.org. You can check out the online conversation from the Walking Summit at Twitter hash tag #walksum13.

Mark Your Calendar — and Be Sure to Stretch ā€“ for the 2013 Walking Summit

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If there is any question about whether the walking movement in the United States has legs, it will be answered with a resounding yes in October at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C.

The health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week ā€“ including decreasing symptoms of diabetes and depression, increasing bone density and helping lower your risk of cancer ā€“ have been shared enthusiastically since the launch of the Every Body Walk! public awareness campaign in 2011.

The 2013 Walking Summit takes that awareness one step further.Ā  Community and organization leaders from across the nation ā€“ including Safe Routes to School, WalkBoston, America Walks, and Rails to Trails ā€“ as well as academics from the CDC, University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University are coming together to share what works best to invigorate programs, practices and policies in individual communities.

You can register for the Walking Summit, scheduled to run October 1-3 in Washington, D.C., at this site.Ā  An extra bonus:Ā  The discounted early bird registration has been extended to August 19. Ā Scholarships are also available.

More info on walking and its many benefits can be found on the Every Body Walk! site.