Walk with a Doc in Klamath Falls
- 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.
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.
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.
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
Walk with a Doc is currently in 47 states, approximately 425 chapters, and has 200,000 walkers. 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:
The biggest barrier that the Klamath Falls WWAD program
has encountered is the winter season when attendance
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
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
November 13, 2015
Date updated or reviewed
January 3, 2018
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.