Canyon Ranch Institute

Prevention in Practice – Canyon Ranch Institute Inspires Future Doctor

When Greg Katz, a fourth-year student at New York University School of Medicine, told fellow students that he was going to study wellness at Canyon Ranch and Canyon Ranch Institute®(CRI), they told him he was, in a word, “nuts.”

But Greg knew he was about to have a rare opportunity. He had talked with Richard Carmona, M.D., 17th Surgeon General of the United States, Canyon Ranch Vice-Chairman and CRI president, when Dr. Carmona appeared on The Dr. Oz Show. At the time, Greg was a medical research intern for the show’s host, Dr. Mehmet Oz. Dr. Carmona told Greg about the integrative health model established by Canyon Ranch and how CRI is working with partners to take the best practices of Canyon Ranch to low-income communities across the nation and beyond. Eager to learn more, Greg contacted CRI Executive Director Jennifer Cabe, and they arranged a one-month fellowship with CRI in Tucson.

Greg arrived in Tucson, and in no time he was applying his medical knowledge, experience as a personal fitness trainer, and his fresh perspective to the CRI Life Enhancement Program® (CRI LEP) curriculum. Working with the CRI team, Greg helped to develop protocols for the one-on-one consultations that the program’s participants have with a physician, nutritionist, exercise professional, and behavioral counselor in their communities. In exchange, Greg had access to the wide range of lectures and services available from Canyon Ranch health and wellness experts and providers. Just as he had planned, he was immersed in integrative health.

His CRI fellowship also gave Greg new insights into doctor-patient interactions. For example, what he learned about health literacy in a single medical school class was greatly expanded as he became familiar with CRI’s community-based programs. “It’s clearer to me now that it is so important to adjust information for each patient so that it’s understandable and the patient knows what to do,” he says. “Health literacy isn’t just about using simple language. It’s about using effective language and developing a connection with the patient.”

While he was working with the CRI LEP curriculum, Greg came across the participant worksheet called “Preparing for a Doctor Visit.” He recognized how much more successful an appointment can be when patients arrive with information written down or are able to explain when their symptoms started, as well as how often they take any medications or supplements. He says, “Patients who take the time to prepare will get the maximum benefit from the time they have with the doctor.”

Combining his Canyon Ranch and CRI experience with working at Bellevue Hospital in New York City as part of his medical training, Greg says that he has seen first-hand the extremes in treating patients. At one end of the continuum is quality acute care for injuries and advanced diseases, with prevention and lifestyle at the other end. As Greg explains, “I don’t see it as a tug of war, but an opportunity to re-imagine the clinical relationship between health care professionals and patients.”

Greg returned to his medical training in New York with a sense of excitement. “Programs like the CRI LEP are bringing prevention to the forefront. They can drastically change the nature of the discussion about what can be done to help the American people be healthier and reduce the cost burden of health care.”

And that doesn’t sound “nuts” at all.

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