GW Hospital, Medical Faculty Associates launch free health seminar series

Media Credit: Keegan Mullen | Senior Staff Photographer

Rajeev Pandarinath, an orthopedic surgeon, speaks at a new health seminar series hosted by the GW Hospital and Medical Faculty Associates Wednesday night.

The GW Hospital and Medical Faculty Associates kicked off a new health seminar series Wednesday educating patients about topics like sports injuries and weight loss.

The seminars, which officials plan to host every other month, will cover a variety of general health subjects and connect patients and doctors without the pressure of a one-on-one appointment. Each seminar will focus on a different health topic, officials said.

At the first installation of the seminars at the hospital Wednesday night, sports medicine doctors ran through treatments for common sports injuries, like ACL tears and knee issues.

Audrey Staples, the event coordinator for the seminars, said officials hope to host the seminars bimonthly and feature each of the hospital’s departments, although specific departments have not been determined yet. She said the next seminar, currently unscheduled, will feature doctors from the bariatric group – doctors dealing with the stomach or intestines – speaking about weight loss.

Staples said the hospital and MFA have been planning the series for the past several months. Future seminar topics and speakers are still under consideration, she said.

“We’re going to look at the new year and see what we can do with our doctors available,” Staples said.

GW Hospital spokeswoman Susan Griffiths said about 75 people signed up for the first session Wednesday evening.

“These free events are part of our ongoing commitment to improve the health of our community,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths declined to say why the hospital and MFA initially decided to launch the series. She also declined to say how much it will cost the hospital to produce the series and what resources they are utilizing throughout the sessions.

Geet Paul, a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, discussed common running injuries at the first seminar. Paul said athletes must understand that if they continue to be active, they will encounter different types of issues – some that require medical attention and some that can be treated at home.

“Especially in a big city like Washington, D.C., everyone’s active in some way or another, whether they’re an actual athlete or whether they do it for recreational purposes,” he said. “Being able to identify these conditions and being able to treat it I think is very important.”

Rajeev Pandarinath, an orthopedic surgeon, said he was pleased with the turnout of the event and the variety of questions that were asked about sports injuries. Pandarinath said holding the seminar series will help community members clear up general inquiries about a host of health issues.

“I thought it would be a good idea to spread awareness to the GW community as a whole,” he said. “People who live in the area are patients of the Hospital and have an idea of what we have to offer.”

He added that the casual format of the seminars gives doctors and attendees the opportunity to engage outside of the office in a comfortable setting.

“A lot of times when you come to see a doctor for a specific problem, you don’t really have time to sit down,” Pandarinath said. “Here we’re trying to give them an opportunity to ask questions they want to ask without any kind of pressure.”

Teresa Doerre, who will officially join the hospital as an orthopedic surgeon next week, said the seminars allow doctors to present ideas cooperatively and give different perspectives about how doctors may take different treatment approaches.

Doerre added that she volunteered for the first seminar because her favorite part of working in sports medicine is educating people on injuries and treatments.

“When you give patients the best information, you help them make the best choices by themselves,” Doerre said. “That’s just something that’s really important to me, and I’m happy to be a part of it and I’m happy they’re going to continue it with other topics.”

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