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June 28, 2002


Putting Their Hearts Into Running The Peachtree: Emory Heart Center Doctors Run For Fun - and Heart Health

The Peachtree Road Race attracts thousands of participants each year - including several Emory Heart Center cardiologists who believe in practicing what they preach to patients about living a healthy and active lifestyle.

"I've run the Peachtree every year since 1993. It's a wonderful 4th of July tradition in Atlanta and it's terrific to see so many people having fun and enjoying physical activity," says Emory Heart Center cardiologist Laurence Sperling, M.D., Director of Emory's HeartWise Risk Reduction Program. Dr. Sperling is an avid runner who ran a half marathon last Thanksgiving.

Cardiologist Wayne Alexander, M.D., PH.D., R. Bruce Logue professor and Chair of Emory University Medical School's Department of Medicine, has been participating in the Peachtree Road Race for the past decade. "I run regularly and the Peachtree is a great added stimulus to train seriously in order to get in shape for the race," Dr. Alexander comments. "Plus it is an opportunity to set an example for our patients. It's important that cardiologists don't just talk about being physically active but that we actually incorporate exercise into our lives -- because it is the right, heart healthy thing to do."

Emory cardiologist Steven Manoukian, M.D. has been running the Peachtree since l990. He also runs in several 5 and 10K races annually, works out at the gym and plays ice hockey. "Those of us who work with heart patients should not only give them good advice but also take it ourselves," Dr. Manoukian says. "Part of the reason I run is to show I'm not just preaching about exercise to patients - I'm following my own advice."

Douglas Morris, M.D., Director of the Emory Heart Center, has run the Peachtree Road Race for the past ten years. "The three factors which are the major contributors to heart disease in the U.S. are cigarette smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. We want to get the word out that by becoming physically active and not smoking, people can dramatically reduce their risk of heart disease," Dr. Morris says. "The good physician should first take care of him/herself and one of the cornerstones for good health is to remain physically active. Physicians should pursue physical fitness not merely to serve as a role model for patients - but for their own good and their own health. I'm delighted that so many Emory Heart doctors practice what they preach."

In all, more than 800 Emory Healthcare employees are running in the Peachtree Road Race. That figure represents a 20 percent increase over last year's Emory participation. The Emory runners work in all components of Emory HealthCare, including Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, The Emory Clinic, Emory Children's Center, Wesley Woods Hospital, Emory-Adventist Hospital and EHCA, LLC.

For more than a decade, Emory Healthcare has been a sponsor of the Peachtree Road Race. Emory physicians, nurses and other staff volunteers will help provide free emergency health services to race participants.

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