First Physician Forum Well Attended
Catalina Island Medical Center
Women crowded into the Avalon Library on Oct. 6 to hear the first speaker in a series of health-related seminars sponsored by the County of L.A. Library, the Friends of the Avalon Library, and the Catalina Island Medical Center. The first Thursday of each month, from 7-9 p.m., the library will remain open to present health experts from various specialties explain what they do and answer questions.
Dr. Aimee Warren, the newest full-time physician at our medical center, discussed women's issues and health care. Warren believes in a "team approach to health care," noting that people are a lot more knowledgeable than in the past, often doing research before visiting the doctor. "That is really great," she said. "I just love my job in that way," indicating that helping people on their own "path to wellness" is the best way to look at care.
"I want my office to be a sacred space for patients," she said. "Where you will be heard and respected." She believes in a "mind-body-spirit" connection and that practicing meditation, exercise and nutrition are important for good health along with expert medical care.
Regarding breast cancer, Warren noted that men do get the disease too, but women are "100 times more at risk." Members of the audience asked questions and offered insights into the disease and their experiences to help others.
Judy Hibbs noted that the American Cancer Society has a program whereby people will assist islanders with getting to their appointments and even finding lodging when they have to stay over town.
Sleep problems was another topic of discussion. Warren noted that sleep difficulties often occur as we age, but there may be things we could try in order to get better and longer sleep. "Be purposeful about your sleep." She suggested beginning an hour ahead of your bed time. "Make it a routine. Slow down, take a bath, meditate, make a calming routine. Practice getting your mind into the space of letting your thoughts go."
Exercise and nutrition also were brought up. "Sitting is the new smoking," said Warren. Exercise is important, but it does not have to be marathon running. Walking instead of driving, standing when you can, moving around in any way is helpful.
"Take micro goals," noted Warren, relating to nutrition as well as exercise. "Just start with one thing a day then go on." Hibbs added that the medical center also has free nutrition clinics once a month and everyone is welcome. The Take off Pounds Slowly group also meets at the clinic and costs very little.
But the biggest killer of women is little known, according to Warren. Heart attacks kill more women than breast cancer. "Women don't realize they are having a heart attack," she said, because the attack takes many different forms in women and are very different than what men experience, so women don't rush down to the hospital to have themselves checked out. They think they have an upset stomach or indigestion and they will get over it. "If you listen to your body and act on it when you feel something is not right, you have a better chance of recovery," Warren said.
Dr. Warren, with her husband and two children live in Avalon. She practices medicine full-time at our hospital.
On Nov. 3, from 7-9 p.m. Dawn Sampson, LCSW, will discuss Teleconnect Therapies and telemedicine at the library. The seminars are free, funded by the Friends of the Avalon Library and the L.A. County Library system.