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AWPC aims to educate patients on healthy living

Reliable Home Health and Georgiana Medical Center held the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Alabama Wellness & Prevention Center on Tuesday. (Advocate Staff/Beth Hyatt)

Reliable Home Health and Georgiana Medical Center held the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Alabama Wellness & Prevention Center on Wednesday. (Advocate Staff/Beth Hyatt)

Reliable Home Health and Georgiana Medical Center held the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Alabama Wellness & Prevention Center (AWPC) Wednesday.

The event featured nutritionist speakers, nurse practitioners, Mayor of Georgiana Jerome Antone and a few new faces to the organization.

Dr. Bishoy Samuel will be the newest physician at the AWPC, and he is excited to begin a career in Georgiana. Samuel will serve as the physician focusing on primary care in patient medicine.

“I think if we empower our patients to live a healthier lifestyle, then we can prevent disease from the outset,” said Samuel.

The center will be used to help educate patients and families on proper wellness practices, as well as how to stay healthy and fit in this fast-paced world. The purpose of the AWPC is to educate patients about the prevention of heart disease, stroke and diabetes by treating the underlying causes of these diseases.

AWPC dietician and nutritionist Katie Hartzog hopes to inspire patients to live healthier lifestyles by offering them realistic goals. She understands that there are multiple ways to lose weight, and there are many patients who only have heard of one way. She wants to encourage these patients to explore different methods of weight loss as well as accomplish their goals for healthy living.

“Prevention is possible and nutrition plays a very important role in that. As a dietician, yes, I can help educate people, encourage people, but I don’t know all the answers. There’s not a perfect way to eat, and you’ve got to meet people where they are instead of saying this is the only way it’s going to work,” said Hartzog.

According to statistics researched by Hayley Guthrie, nurse practitioner, cardiovascular illness in Butler County is 30 percent higher than the average in Alabama and 50 percent higher than the average in the U.S. Diabetes in Butler County is higher than the state average by 60 percent and 70 percent higher than the national average. Strokes are 20 percent higher than the state average and 40 percent higher than the national average.

With the growing rate of diabetes, obesity and heart disease plaguing our state, the AWPC hopes to lower these statistics in the coming years by educating and encouraging patients by looking into lifestyles, eating habits and exercising habits.

“The saying at AWPC is the genes load the gun and the lifestyle pulls the trigger. Our goal is not just to reveal the changes that need to occur, but also to coach and motivate people to make these changes,” said Guthrie.