Many years ago (more than I am willing to admit to), I had an instructor in graduate school who spoke about how our whole health system is focused on its reaction to injury and disease. He talked about a patient he was seeing (he had been the Director of Social Services at a major hospital) who had diabetes and was a particularly difficult case. It turned out that he did a home visit and found that the family did not speak English and didn’t understand the need for a change in diet for the patient to control his disease. Once they cleared that hurdle, the patient’s control of his diabetes improved markedly.
The point the professor was making was that health services need to go beyond a narrow view of treatment in order to actually create “health”. It strikes me that we are constantly re-learning this lesson, even today. When we started Healthplex Associates over 25 years ago, we thought we were breaking the mold by adding exercise to the treatment of people with cardiac disease or as a supplement to physical therapy. Compared to how most health systems were seeing their role in creating “health”, we were doing something new.
In the last few years, however, we have seen a change to the role that our wellness centers can play in creating “health”. We are now seeing a more expansive view that focuses on the “whole person”. For example, our Henry Mayo Fitness and Health Center in California has developed a program to work with teens who may be suffering from depression and a low self-concept. These kids become a risk of suicide, but by working with them we have been able to address their issues and help them through some tough times.
Similarly, our Healthplex in the Bronx has started to work with the City’s “B.R.A.G (Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence)” program to reach out to kids who might otherwise be involved with gun violence. The program teaches them boxing skills which directs their energy to a more controlled outlet and, again, raises their self-esteem. Saint Barnabus’ pediatrics department is also identifying indigent kids who need counseling in lifestyle habits that may be putting them at risk and referring them to the Healthplex for support.
In Indianapolis, the Healthplex recently started a program for children with Autism. According to one of the therapists at the Applied Behavior Center for Autism, “We are able to expand pre-existing skills to more people and cultivate new and emerging skills. It is so important for children to be able to do things in an environment in which they feel safe and can have fun. The Healthplex and their employees are able to provide both.”
These are just a few of the ways that our centers are reaching out and redefining their roles, ways that we are proud to say that we are redefining providing “health” to our communities.
Stephen A. Robbins
PRESIDENT EMERITUS, HPA
Healthplex Associates (HPA) consults with hospitals, health systems, foundations, and universities across the United States to create and manage clinically integrated fitness facilities. Healthplex Associates has developed unique programs to ensure the smooth transition from the clinical setting to the wellness center for people who need long term lifestyle management support for optimal health. HPA has achieved national leadership through innovation and our dedication to patients and clients.
Our combined staff has now served over 400 clients ranging from large hospitals to smaller, community based rural hospitals. We work exclusively with organizations ranging from healthcare systems, universities and foundations who are committed to a vision of improving the health and wellness of the community in which they serve.
Healthplex Associates has developed a unique, hands-on style to assisting and advising clients with an approach that stresses partnerships. We provide an array of services in the Medical Wellness Industry. These services include feasibility studies, audits of existing medical fitness centers and management. Fundamentally, we believe that true community health must include fitness/wellness services and because of our deep healthcare background (all of our principals have health care management or clinical backgrounds), our Healthplex team fully understands the client’s mission and the complexity of today’s healthcare environment.
The management team of Healthplex Associates is made up of some of the nation’s most experienced experts in the field of medically based fitness. Few management firms can boast of the experience in health care, clinical services, and operations of medically based fitness centers that HPA possesses.