HCN News & Notes

Walk with a Doc Program Debuts in Greenfield on Aug. 17

GREENFIELD — The national program Walk with a Doc will stroll into Greenfield this summer beginning on Aug. 17. Walk with a Doc allows community members to learn more about current health topics from a healthcare professional during a fun, inclusive, biweekly gathering.

The Valley Health Regional Collaborative, comprised of public-health officials from Greenfield, Montague, Deerfield, Sunderland, Shutesbury, and Leverett, is partnering to introduce Walk with a Doc to Franklin County. Dr. John Romano of Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s Greenfield Family Medicine Residency Program will operate as the program’s lead physician.

Each walk will occur on the first and third Thursdays of the month until the end of October, with the sessions starting at 6 p.m. at Highland Park. Each walk will last an hour. The program will pick up again in May 2024.

Romano, who is also a member of the Greenfield Board of Health, said he was introduced to the program by an inquiry to the medical center. He views Walk with a Doc as an ideal forum for strengthening the understanding between medical professionals and the public. “We felt like it was a great opportunity to engage with the community, promote healthy behaviors, and be a friendly face to show who doctors are.”

Through the walks, Romano will talk with the public about contemporary health issues before welcoming open conversations with attendees. “We want to spend more time talking to and interacting with patients,” he said.

Walk with a Doc was started in Columbus, Ohio, in April 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir. It has since expanded worldwide, including five other programs located throughout Massachusetts. Greenfield’s Walk with a Doc will mark the Western Mass. debut for the initiative.

The Valley Health Regional Collaborative works to meet public-health needs in partner towns. The collaborative was formed with partial funding from a Public Health Excellence for Shared Services state grant.