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Walk with a Doc in Klamath Falls

Summary 
  • Need: To give people an incentive to walk for exercise.
  • Intervention: A national program called Walk with a Doc was adopted by Klamath Falls, Oregon that invites community members to walk with their local doctor and simultaneously get answers to their health-related questions.
  • Results: Patients continue to faithfully attend and engage in intentional health-focused conversation during the weekly walks.
Description

Klamath Falls is a rural community close to the California/Oregon border. The town is scenic, with the Cascade Mountains in view and easy access to several lakes. Similar to many rural communities, Klamath Falls has high obesity rates and little disposable income for health-related expenditures. Despite its great outdoors, the town also lacks sufficient walking paths.

Walk with a Doc logo

The Cascades East Rural Family Medicine Residency saw these things as detriments to their community’s health and sought to find a solution. Several medical residents came across a national program called Walk with a Doc (WWAD) and adapted it for Klamath Falls. The mission of WWAD is “to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle in order to improve the health and well-being of the country.”

WWAD Founder Dr. David Sabgir explains the WWAD program in this video:


The Klamath Falls WWAC program invites participants to meet every Saturday morning at Steen Sport Park or Mike's Fieldhouse, depending on the weather. Before the walking begins, the doctor leading the walk gives a short presentation about a designated health issue, such as “health benefits of endurance exercise.” The walk lasts anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes as participants are free to walk at their own pace and ask the provider general health-related questions.

Oregon currently has several active WWAD programs, with Klamath Falls being the first. While Dr. Brock Trejo is the lead doctor of the Klamath Falls Walk with a Doc program, it remains driven by the residents of Cascades East Rural Family Medicine Residency.

Hear about the benefits of walking from one of the Klamath Falls WWAD leaders, Dr. Brock Trejo:


Funding for the Klamath Falls WWAD program is provided by the Sky Lakes Medical Center.

Services offered

The following are services offered by the national office of WWAD to all local-level programs:

  • Liability coverage
  • Webpage development and maintenance
  • A starter set of t-shirts
  • Sample pedometer
  • How-to guide
  • Weekly newsletter
  • Launch kit with promotional materials
  • Co-branding and sponsorships
Results

Although Klamath Falls has not recorded specific results, the national WWAD program published these results from a national survey of participants:

  • 92.4% feel they are more educated since starting WWAC
  • 79.4% now get more exercise since starting the program
  • 78.8% feel more empowered in their interactions with doctors
  • 97.5% enjoy the concept of pairing physicians with communities outside of the clinical setting
  • Additional benefits include: high level of camaraderie, increased energy, safer communities, happier participants, and it instills a desire to make a difference

National news sites that featured WWAD:

Barriers

The biggest barrier that the Klamath Falls WWAD program has encountered is the winter season when attendance rates decrease.

Replication

What you need to start a program:

  • A board-certified physician
  • A safe place to walk
  • Health-related topics that can be addressed by a doctor
  • Participants to join in the walk
  • Excitement from medical providers and consistency in promoting the program during patient visits

Resources:

Contact Information
Dr. Brock Trejo, MD, WWAD Leader
Walk with a Doc
541.882.4691
brocktrejo@gmail.com
Topics
Physicians
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
States served
Oregon
Date added
November 13, 2015
Date updated or reviewed
January 23, 2017

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.