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Westminster Communities of Florida Partners with Florida State for Heart Health

February 8, 2017

Westminster Communities of Florida is celebrating Heart Health Month this year by offering "Taking Care of Your Heart Health" seminars throughout the state, in partnership with the Florida State University College of Medicine.

In February, classes will be offered in Bradenton, Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee. In these classes, teams of medical students in their third and fourth years give presentations to seniors with useful knowledge on their wellbeing. More than 70 medical students have participated, giving presentations to hundreds of Westminster residents. The current topic is the third series of health-related presentations, starting with "Brain Health" in spring of 2016 and followed by "Fall Prevention" last summer.

Sandra Knoble, Director of Quality Initiatives for Westminster, facilitates the project, part of a research grant with FSU. "We are proud to partner with the FSU College of Medicine and we are glad for the opportunity to provide these classes to seniors who would not have such opportunities," says Knoble.

This program is part of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project (GWEP), focusing on educating seniors on better health and better communication with their physicians. The student facilitators are mentored by local physicians and adjunct faculty in preparation for post-graduate work experience. The FSU College of Medicine prepares the content for these programs and provides presentation scripts to the medical students. The students are equipped with an action plan to lead their teaching, as well as handouts of resources that would be relevant for seniors. Afterward, the seniors are encouraged to ask questions and develop personal action plans to increase healthy behaviors.

Heart health classes began in January and will continue throughout the spring. Previously, the classes offered included "Brain Health" and "Fall Prevention."

"The classes are limited to 20 older adults," says Knoble. "This class size fosters better interpersonal reaction between the participants and the medical students giving the presentations."

The program has encouraged more than 200 seniors to learn more about their personal health and wellbeing.

To learn more about the program and upcoming presentation dates, contact Jennifer Gilmour at (941) 746-9425.

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