On Saturday, September 8, Privia Medical Group North Texas physicians and staff members will join with thousands of others at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth to walk for a good cause – fighting heart disease and stroke. The 2018 Tarrant County Heart Walk, a project of the American Heart Association, is one of more than 300 similar events across the country.
Heart Walks raise money to fight heart disease, the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. The American Heart Association sponsors research to prevent and treat various forms of heart disease. The goal for this year’s Tarrant County Heart Walk is $1,330,000, some of which will also go to training North Texas high school students on CPR.
“Sense of Community”
Privia Medical Group North Texas is one of the companies sponsoring the Heart Walk – with nine teams in place, Privia’s goal is to recruit 100 participants for the walk. Dr. Triwanna Fisher-Wikoff, a primary care physician, is leading the effort for Privia, along with administrative staff members Tami Foster and Corey Harriman.
The proposal to sponsor the Heart Walk came from Dr. Scott Ewing, a cardiologist who participated in the 2017 event. Privia’s Practice Development Committee agreed it was a good opportunity to promote “a sense of community within our organization,” according to Dr. Fisher-Wikoff. After all, she says, “everyone recognizes the Heart Walk.”
As the physician leader for the effort, Dr. Fisher-Wikoff has several responsibilities: “My role is to make sure we are staying on target in terms of recruitment for the teams, getting all of our information submitted to the American Heart Association for registration, overseeing logistics and working with our practice consultants to make sure each team is organized and ready to walk.”
Fighting Heart Disease
Dr. Fisher-Wikoff believes it is important for Privia to support and participate in the Heart Walk because “heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans and many of these deaths are preventable. Things like high blood pressure, poor diet, obesity and tobacco use are some of the most common causes of heart disease. When we walk, we are bringing light to the subject matter and showing how important it is to everyone.”
As a primary care physician, Dr. Fisher-Wikoff treats patients who have heart disease or are at heightened risk for getting it. “I encourage my patients to start with the habits first. Even though it is difficult to change habits, I find that patients are often willing to change, especially if the behavior is leading to heart disease. Tobacco use, weight loss, increasing exercise, a better diet – these are the most common areas we focus on.”
A Team-Building Opportunity
With more than 200 providers serving patients in offices across seven North Texas counties, Privia physicians and staff members don’t always get the opportunity to interact with their colleagues outside their own practices.
“I think this will be a fun opportunity for Privia physicians and staff members, as it will give us a chance to know each other better on a personal level,” Dr. Fisher-Wikoff says. “We want it to be personnel-friendly, so physicians get to know each other better and staff gets to know each other, as well.”
“We’re encouraging all of our walkers to bring their families, friends and even their dogs if they want to!” Dr. Fisher-Wikoff continues. “We want as many people to participate as possible, so please register early so we can order enough t-shirts and other fun things. Once our teams are set, we will have a competition to see who can raise the most money and recruit the biggest team.”
Walk for a Cause!
When it comes to an event like the Heart Walk, the more the merrier. For those interested in participating, you can join a team, start a team or participate as an individual. To join a Privia team, click here.
The opening ceremony begins at 8:30 am and the walk commences at 9:00 am. The Heart Walk is a 1 to 3-mile, non-competitive walk around the Will Rogers Center. Kids are encouraged to participate, as are dogs, provided they are on a leash. There will be water stations along the route and light refreshments will be available, as well. For parking and additional information, visit the Heart Walk information page.