Hospital celebrates anniversary

Released by: Good Shepherd Medical Center

LONGVIEW, TX - October 27 marks the two-year anniversary of Good Shepherd's Institute for Healthy Living. In the Institute's charter year, the community response to the region's first medically-integrated wellness center was overwhelming. All expectations were exceeded, and two years later, memberships are at an all-time high, and offerings continue to expand across the board.

The Institute for Healthy Living has had groundbreaking success in a number of areas, beginning with the construction of the facility. By using renewable resources as building materials and incorporating construction processes that conserved energy, Good Shepherd succeeded in creating the region's first "Green Building." Sustainable, or "green" design, is one of the fastest moving trends in architecture and interior design. The Institute is certified Gold status by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

As the doors opened, the public embraced the idea of the Institute being more than just a gym. Good Shepherd Medical Center relocated its outpatient physical therapy and sports medicine department, along with cardiac rehabilitation and community education programs, such as diabetes education and nutrition services, to the Institute. Incorporating these aspects of healthcare into the 75,000 square foot facility created the two paths of wellness – fitness (prevention) and rehabilitation (wellness) – that define the Institute.

Within weeks of the grand opening, group classes maxed out with participation, and all available classroom space was transformed to add more offerings to meet the needs of members. The utilization of personal training sessions with personal trainers also exceeded expectations, and many members were quickly on the road to fitness success. Within months, the first boot camp – "Fit Camp" – launched, and now the Institute offers ongoing Fit Camp and Extreme Bootcamps throughout the year, packing the gym with excited fitness enthusiasts each session. The fitness team instructs 15 classes per week geared toward children, including KAT (Kid's Athletic Training), Moms and Tots, Kid's Fit Camp, and other tailored offerings.

"The Institute offers approximately 150 group exercise classes each week," said Katy Bradford, assistant director of fitness and program development. "These include cycling, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates,

BodyPump™, Zumba, Silver Sneakers, Aqua Exercise and many more. Each class offers a unique experience for the member that leads them closer to their health and fitness goals."

BodyPump™ is a weight-based group-fitness program, created and distributed globally by Les Mills International, and is offered exclusively by the Institute for Healthy Living. Institute instructors must complete training on each release, with new sessions every three months. The Institute recently received new cutting-edge Pilates equipment, and several of the Yoga instructors received Yoga Fit Certification, which requires 500 hours of training. All of these aspects customize the Institute with specialized staff who impact the members each day with their professional knowledge and skills.

"The Institute is unique because unlike other fitness centers we are supported by the services of Good Shepherd Medical Center," Bradford said. "Amongst the range of services offered at the Institute, we have a therapy resistance pool specially designed for aquatic therapy, as well as education classes and dieticians and personal trainers who are all trained to work with patients referred by physicians. But at the same time we are open to the general public, so we are here to meet the needs of the whole community."

Last year, Good Shepherd launched the Inspire Awards to mark the Institute's first anniversary. The Institute was deluged with entrants who submitted 'before' and 'after' pictures, as well as personal stories detailing their amazing journey to better health. Staff voted on the finalists based on their achievement and how their new-found level of fitness had transformed their lives, and the miraculous recovery of retired school teacher, Julie Tanner, who learned to walk again after over a decade in a wheelchair, was celebrated as the first 'Inspire Award.'

Julie, who had suffered from juvenile diabetes, had complete renal failure in 1994, and was on kidney dialysis for six years before she had a kidney and pancreas transplant. At the same time she developed the early onset of osteoporosis and numerous falls left her with a metal plate in one leg. Wheelchair bound 90 percent of the time, she also experienced nerve damage in her feet and legs. She says doctors in Galveston told her it was unlikely she would ever walk again. "I had no stamina or strength in my legs and I wouldn't even know I had stepped on a nail unless I saw my foot was bleeding," says Julie, adding, "Now the wheelchair is in storage and I can even climb stairs. I use a walker most of the time but have used a cane and can stand without any assistance whatsoever."

Julie's nephrologist, Dr. Shobha Shakamuri, said her achievement is remarkable: "Julie is a model patient – she has done everything right to improve her situation. It is unusual for patients to make this kind of recovery and it really requires personal drive and expert physical therapy to achieve this kind of success."

The Institute for Healthy Living offers fitness scholarships for individuals who would benefit from the use of the facility. In addition, each patient who is directed to the Institute for outpatient therapy receives a 30-day trial membership to the Institute. Outpatient therapy may include diabetes education, cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy or speech therapy. For more information on the scholarship program, please contact a member service associate at (903)323-6511.

"Something we pride ourselves on at the Institute is our diverse senior population," said Laura McCarter, executive director of health and prevention service. "We were successful in converting many of our ClassiCare members, which represent a loyal patient base of adults age 50 and over, to Institute members." The ClassiCare group represents more than 4,000 individuals who utilize Good Shepherd's services through a membership program that provides them with benefits such as monthly luncheons, group travel, inpatient perks and discounts with local retailers. "A large portion of this group was previously involved in our Classically Fit program, which offered fitness classes tailored to the age group. We are pleased to have this group represent how fitness can revitalize and strengthen the body in all stages of life."

"The Institute also played a large role in the formation of the Mayor's Fitness Council in Longview," McCarter said. "With our involvement, along with other key business leaders, Longview achieved the recognition of 'Fittest City in Texas' by Governor Rick Perry in both 2008 and 2009. We are delighted to be a part of a health revolution in our community."

The Institute for Healthy Living offers fitness scholarships for individuals who would benefit from the use of the facility. In addition, each patient who is directed to the Institute for outpatient therapy receives a 30-day trial membership to the Institute. Outpatient therapy may include diabetes education, cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy or speech therapy. For more information on the scholarship program, please contact a member service associate at (903)323-6511.

Just recently, with the formation of a Medical Advisory Panel, the Institute for Healthy Living is poised for optimization of its medical integration with further development and implementation of physician pathways. The participating physicians represent a wide spectrum of specialties and serve as advocates for the Institute to their patients, their peers and the community at large.

The Institute is home to Good Shepherd's Spirit of Women program, which has hosted both educational seminars as well as special events, concentrating on some of the most relevant health issues of today, while including pieces of entertainment to round out each event. The second annual "Girlfriend Getaway" attracted hundreds of ladies, who gathered in the spirit of health, fun and fellowship. Spirit of Women will host "Taste of the Holidays" on November 11. For information on tickets, please contact (903)323-6540.

The Healthy Living Spa, located inside the Institute for Healthy Living, is a full service medical spa that offers services to relax and rejuvenate the body. A range of massage therapy from Swedish to deep tissue is available. Other body treatments include hydrating wraps and sugar scrubs. Facial services include treatments for all skin types, microdermabrasion and waxing services. The Healthy Living Spa carries two skin care lines: Eminence, a natural, organic skin line; and SkinCeuticals, a line dedicated to preventing serious skin conditions. The spa is open to the public, and members receive a discount on products and services.

Two years later, it is evident that Good Shepherd Medical Center truly offered a gift to the community with the Institute for Healthy Living. The Institute has impacted so many by offering the tools necessary to transform lives.

What's Happening at the Institute for Healthy Living:

Fall Into Fitness Membership Special

Jump start your exercise program before the holidays arrive!

Individual $150

Individual & Child $180

Husband & Wife $180

Family $300

* Each member that utilizes the facility 24 times within their three month membership will be granted a complimentary 10 visit punch card at the completion of their membership.

* To redeem this great offer you must sign up for this three month membership and pay in full no later than November 30, 2010.

CORPORATE MEMBERSHIPS are available, and the discounted rates can save you and your employees considerably. Contact the Institute for Healthy Living Assistant Director of Operations, Ashley Tipps, at (903) 323-6502 for more information or to set up a corporate presentation.

Fall Festival/Membership Appreciation Event will be held November 1, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Look for new classes and new enhancements at the first of the year. Coming soon……Zumba toning, Piloxing, Introductory Pilates Reformer course.