Northwest Center for Lifestyle and Functional Medicine News: Community members weigh in on health concerns

When the executive director for the Northwest Center for Lifestyle and Functional Medicine (NWCLFM), Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD, CHES, began her role, her aim was clear – listen to the community and find out what they wanted from the center.

“We didn’t want to just start a bunch of initiatives that we thought would be helpful,” Dr. Hawk said. “We wanted to really go into the community and find what the people in East Portland really wanted and needed.”

Dr. Hawk, with a background in research, decided to get out and talk to the people in the community including interviews with Portland community leaders and focus groups with community residents. She also created a short survey for community members at events to fill out. The questions are simple: What makes it easy for you to be healthy? What makes it hard for you to be healthy?

While this data collection will take place over the next year, some initial data has been collected and tabulated. Dr. Hawk found a number of early trends.

The top five reasons people cite for staying healthy:

  • nature, parks, bike paths available
  • healthy food options available at home
  • ability to get regular exercise/enjoy exercise
  • opportunities to exercise with dog/kids
  • ability to plan activities/have goals for being healthy

The top five reasons people cite as being barriers to a healthy lifestyle:

  • lack of time, too busy
  • too much food and drink available, especially fast food
  • lack of motivation, lack of planning
  • cost, including cost of health care
  • no advanced planning
  • health problems that prevent exercise (tie)

“We will continue to collect these findings over the next year,” Dr. Hawk said. “Then after reviewing the results, our plan of action is to start implementing initiatives that speak to these barriers to health.”

About the Northwest Center for Lifestyle and Functional Medicine

The Northwest Center for Lifestyle and Functional Medicine was launched in 2015 as a center of excellence highlighting ways to reduce lifestyle-related health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension. The center’s vision is to promote healthy behaviors and positive lifestyle changes in order to achieve optimal quality of life for the members of our community through service, education and research. The center believes in integrated, conservative, patient-centered approaches to address lifestyle-related health conditions. To learn more about the center visit uws.edu/nwclfm.