The Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) recently bestowed their 2019 Rural Health Ambassador Award to Devon Allen, MD – Internal Medicine Physician, Cheri Rott, MS, RDN – Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and Lynn Huiskamp, NBC-HWC – National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach for their work on the Weight Wisdom Group at Western Wisconsin Health.
The award recognizes health care employees at RWHC hospitals who have gone above the call of duty in promoting their respective organizations, while making significant contributions to rural health. Individuals from across the state receive awards each year. Each recipient demonstrates a history of fostering positive communication and relations within the hospital’s respective service area by: serving on community boards/service organizations; taking advantage of volunteer or public speaking opportunities; and supporting community health activities beyond the scope of the hospital.
Weight Wisdom, a dynamic weight loss support group, was uniquely created to address physical health concerns along with all the nutritional, emotional and activity components that must accompany lifestyle changes. To address the breadth of these topics, Weight Wisdom is collectively led by Dr. Allen, Cheri and Lynn. One thing that makes this group different is our community of participants willing to share their stories and their journeys. They have seen real people working together to make change. To participate in the group, members must have an initial weight management appointment in the Clinic with Dr. Allen. Members are also offered nutrition and health coaching consultations with Cheri and Lynn.
Weight Wisdom has grown rapidly from 50 in January 2018 to over 127 members. In their first year, the group had a collective goal to lose 1,200 pounds. They met their goal in just 8 months and well surpassed it, losing more than 1,700 pounds! While the challenge has a humorous name, it reinforces key components of Weight Wisdom:
- No Gimmicks, No Meal Replacements
- No Fixation On The Scale And Number Of Pounds Lost
- Long-Term Intrinsic Motivation
What this group offers its members is truly unique. Participants meet each month and receive education, tools and motivation to make lifestyle changes they can realistically maintain. Along with Lynn and Cheri, guest speakers such as Fitness Center trainers and providers offer valuable resources. But what really makes this program a success is the way members are open to sharing their stories and supporting each other along the way, and have fun doing it!
Here are a few members who showcase the success of the Weight Wisdom Group:
- A 55-year-old man facing necessary heart valve surgery who has just lost over 100 lbs. and is able to get the necessary surgery.
- A 72-year-old woman who could walk only 1 block and is now working out at the fitness center, connecting to others in the group on meal planning ideas, and signed up to walk a 5K in June.
- A 66-year-old former farmer and current convenience store worker who has lost 40 lbs. and gained the perspective of a lifelong yogi.
- A 31-year-old woman who has tried many diets and is now joyously excited to be connected with a personal trainer.
This group is truly delivering on its mission to inspire, motivate and support lifelong healthy changes and weight management!
Incorporated in 1979, RWHC receives national recognition as one of the country’s earliest and most successful models for networking among rural hospitals. RWHC serves as a catalyst for regional collaboration and as an influential and creative force on behalf of rural communities and rural health. Owned and operated by 40 acute, medical-surgical hospitals, RWHC offers its members a wide range of shared services that meet local community health needs, including: staffing, consulting, management, networking and education. Western Wisconsin Health is an active member of RWHC; their employees support the shared mission of “strengthening and sustaining rural health.”