Monday, March 28, 2011
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic today announced it will double the size of the Mayo Clinic Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center to respond to patients' desire for overall wellness. This expansion is made possible by the financial generosity of Dan Abraham, founder of Slim-Fast International.
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"We are committed to improving the overall health and wellness of our patients as well as diagnosing and treating illness and disease," says Patricia Barrier, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic's Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. "This expansion will contribute to Mayo's quest to comprehensively serve the needs of each patient."
Within the new center, patients will experience highly individualized healthy living guidance tailored to their illness or disease and disease risks. The center also will provide ongoing support aimed at prevention of future disease — services to help those who do not have serious illness to stay well. The expansion will provide space for research and development of new innovative programs in lifestyle behavioral change and programs to treat many medical conditions.
The existing floors of the building will continue to be for Mayo employees and their dependents. The new floors will have a separate entrance for patients. The new center will not be a gym or spa, nor will it offer memberships or access to participate solely in exercise activities.
"I wanted to help Mayo Clinic build a facility to teach Americans how to live longer, healthier and more vibrant lives. Open to all for two-, three- and five-day programs, this center will teach the principles of healthy living," says Mr. Abraham. "The basic problems that we face in America of obesity, sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, tensions and anxieties, and poor sleep habits, all of which contribute to a poor quality of life and a shortened life span, are self-induced but can be remedied by each individual."
Mr. Abraham has been a longtime patient who credits Mayo with restoring his health when a challenging lung infection had greatly diminished the quality of his life. The amount of the gift will remain confidential. He is a leading advocate for the principles of healthy living, and the success of the employee center spurred him to provide additional philanthropic support to Mayo.
"The appreciation of Mayo Clinic staff has been overwhelming," says Mr. Abraham. "I've been impressed by the outcomes and the benefits are clear. Helping Mayo expand this success through lifestyle support for patients is a dream come true. I want people to be healthy and productive. I want people to extend their lives in healthy, vigorous ways without so much cost for medical care."
"The new services will be designed in partnership with the patient and their clinical provider to both impact medical conditions and to give the patient the tools needed to maximize their health and well-being every day," says Dr. Barrier. "With the escalating costs of health care and the significant impact that many preventable conditions have on an individual's productivity and enjoyment of life, it is critical to develop and assess innovative approaches to wellness. Research to determine the effectiveness of different approaches on the wellness of different groups of patients will be a key aspect of the programs."
Mayo staff from numerous specialties will work together to provide specific programs to address the special interests of patients. Patient appointments will be arranged through a Mayo physician or made by the patient. Programs may be two or more days in duration. Participants will leave with a tailored healthy living plan to implement lifestyle changes.
"The generous support by Mr. Abraham has improved the lives of our employees through the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. Now, his same spirit of generosity and commitment to Mayo Clinic will more broadly touch all our patients," says John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO. "We applaud and are grateful to Mr. Abraham for his long history of charitable giving to Mayo Clinic. This project would not be possible without his support."
Mr. Abraham's philanthropy established two successful employee wellness and fitness facilities at Mayo Clinic. The program expansion will involve the construction of four more stories to the current center on the corner of First Street SW and Sixth Avenue SW. One floor will be shelled-in space.
The timeline for construction and groundbreaking has not been determined. Services and programs will continue to be offered to employees throughout the construction.
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