Welcome to Basecamp

February 28, 2017 Providence Health Team

This is the beginning.

This is where it starts.

It's a chilly night.

I guess it always is during February in Portland, Oregon. Rainy too. But as I walk from my car toward the track, my hand instinctively goes toward the coach's whistle around my neck, which was occupied by a stethoscope only minutes earlier. I see the crowd standing under the lights. I don't feel cold at all.

For the past five years, I have been honored to train hundreds of amazing people in our community to walk or run their first 5K. At its inception, the Heart to Start program was focused on the obvious - get people more active and they will become healthier. But as we have grown, and as we have spread beyond Portland toward Newberg, Oregon and up to Walla Walla and Spokane, Washington, I have been amazed by the impact of creating a community and watching it become healthier before my eyes.

Our athletes come from all walks of life. All ages. All body types. And all health backgrounds. But in spite of their differences, they support each other. They want each other to succeed. And along the way, they have started to move as a community. They have started to act as a community. I see it when we volunteer together at the Oregon Food Bank. I feel it when I watch them dance together as one by one, each one of them crosses the finish line. And I hear it when they tell me their stories of losing weight, of coming off medications, of feeling happier, included, and even loved.

It's the most incredible feeling I have experienced as a doctor. And I want it to grow.

That's why we built Basecamp.

Basecamp is a place where people gather to do something amazing. And the Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness Center is our place to bring our patients, our heart care providers, and our community together to become the best, healthiest versions of themselves. We have broken down this journey into Tools, Pathfinders, and Peaks.

Our Tools are the small changes we will make to become healthier together. We have outlined five different goals, from finding our best weight to reducing stress to becoming more fit. Our physicians can prescribe these different solutions to our patients, who can take home wellness prescriptions from our Start Small, Finish Remarkable exhibit and put them to practice at home. We plan to provide portable versions of this exhibit to any Providence clinic that wants one.

Our Pathfinders inspire us. Like the heart surgery patient who is now preparing to compete at the NFL Combine. Like the mother who started with a 5K and now does ultra-marathons. Like the sudden cardiac arrest survivor who now volunteers at Basecamp to develop programs to serve children in our community. We celebrate them and we also learn from them. Our Pathfinders program expands our support group infrastructure to provide solace and friendship to more people in our community, and our new 1:1 peer-support program will match patients with someone who has already been down that road before. Because every climber needs a guide.

Our Peaks are our programs. We passionately teach yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, mindfulness, nutrition, and don't forget about CPR! Our MOViE Series and Basecamp Book Camp will draw our community inward to become inspired by film and text, and our Basecamp Adventure Series will change the way physicians think about Continuing Medical Education. The Apple a Day Cafe serves the tastiest, heart-friendliest meals you will find anywhere, and we'll even give you the recipes.

We are changing the way that we deliver heart care. Because all those steps we have taken together around the windswept track during the past five years taught us something.

Care begins in the community.

And if that community is hard to find, then we are going to create it.

This is the first step that changes everything.

Welcome to Basecamp.

James Beckerman, M.D.
Medical Director, Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
Portland, Oregon

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