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Here, You Can Walk and Talk With the Doctor

An example of excellent health care in Oak Ridge can be seen in a physician, whose daughter inspired him to start the East Tennessee chapter of Walk-with-a-Doc.

By Patsy B. Weiler on July 15, 2022

Dr. Milan Sheth and his daughter, Riya, in Oak Ridge, TN
Methodist Medical Center

Dr. Milan Sheth, a general and interventional cardiologist in Oak Ridge with Parkway Cardiology Associates, says he was inspired by his daughter to start the first East Tennessee chapter of Walk-with-a-Doc.

Riya Sheth’s keen observation regarding her father’s concern for the isolation his heart patients experienced during the pandemic motivated her to take steps to help.

The research she conducted led the teenager to discover the mental and physical benefits of getting outside for a short walk and interacting with others. It also became the basis for her paper in an Oak Ridge High School advanced placement seminar research class.

“Without the motivation from my daughter, Riya, this program would have never started,” Sheth says.

The international program consists of doctor-led walking groups, providing a safe and free-to-the-public place to get in some steps, learn about health and make new friends.

Did You Know?

Studies have shown walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and elevate your mood, among other benefits.

“As a physician, this program lets me practice what I preach,” he says. “Patients have become more vested in their care when they see their physicians join them during these walks.”

Locally, weather permitting, participants of all ages and abilities gather at 9 a.m. the second Saturday of every month at Melton Lake Park Pavilion where they listen to a short, informative presentation on a variety of health topics, then walk together. About 25 to 30 people usually gather for a stroll, with the numbers increasing in warmer weather.

Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, TN
Don Dudenbostel

A Top Hospital in Oak Ridge

Methodist Medical Center has been a fixture in the East Tennessee health and wellness community for decades. It opened as an Army hospital in 1943 when Oak Ridge was still the “Secret City” where work on World War II’s Manhattan Project was taking place. The 301-bed facility, a part of Covenant Health, serves more than 200,000 citizens in Anderson, Roane, Morgan, Campbell and Scott counties.

The medical center is an advanced primary stroke center and offers 30 specialty services, ranging from cardiology and orthopedics to oncology and wound care, as well as expanded surgical robotics offerings.

Home Away From Home

For 26 years, Methodist’s Hospitality Houses have provided a welcoming temporary home for people traveling to the facility for extended medical treatment.

Methodist Medical recently marked an important milestone — its 8,000th open heart surgery.

“I haven’t done all 8,000 surgeries, but I’ve done a lot of them. I have lived in this community for a long time,” says Dr. William Hall, cardiothoracic surgeon and founding physician of Methodist’s open-heart program.

“I’ll run into people, either whom I’ve operated on, or it’s been one of their family members. To know we bought someone a few more years means a few more Christmases, or family celebrations, and to see grandkids be born. It’s the best part of being a physician.”

Honored for Profound Impact

Another reason for celebration was being recognized by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce with its Community Impact Award. The honor is presented to businesses that not only operate in a sound manner, but also make a profound impact on the Oak Ridge community.

“Health care has been tested in ways we never could have imagined, but the strength of our staff has been nothing short of heroic,” says Jeremy Biggs, president and chief administrative officer. “I am grateful and humbled every day to work alongside such dedicated professionals. I thank them for their commitment, compassion and courage. This is their award — as it is a shared award for this entire community.”

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