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Shared Medical Appointment Helps Professor Find Zen and Get Healthy

Francesco Melfi, a 58-year-old philosophy professor at Cleveland State University, was experiencing pain in his calves with physical activity, as well as anxiety. The cause? Lack of physical activity, some varicose veins and high cholesterol.

His physician referred him to internal medicine specialist Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD, Medical Director of the Center for Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Golubic encouraged him to enroll in a shared medical appointment called Lifestyle Essentials.

“I’d often thought about doing things to be healthier, but didn’t take action. During the group visits, everything started to come together. Dr. Golubic discussed the connections between your mind and your health, and why it’s important to eat a healthy diet. This all-inclusive way of looking at things just made sense.”

Cleveland Clinic began offering shared medical appointments (SMAs) to patients with common, chronic health conditions in 1999. Due to their many benefits for patients — from extended time with providers to insights gained from interacting with others who share similar health concerns — options for SMAs have expanded.

Patients participating in SMAs offered at the Tanya I. Edwards, MD, Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine in the Wellness Institute on Cleveland Clinic’s Lyndhurst campus are experiencing life-changing results. The SMAs are unique because they focus on lifestyle practices that patients can do themselves to address their chronic conditions.

The Cleveland Clinic Lifestyle Essentials SMA helps patients diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and/or Type 2 diabetes to improve their health and well-being.

“I’d often thought about doing things to be healthier, but didn’t take action,” says Mr. Melfi. “During the group visits, everything started to come together. Dr. Golubic discussed the connections between your mind and your health, and why it’s important to eat a healthy diet. This all-inclusive way of looking at things just made sense.”

With much-needed and appreciated support from his wife, Karen Marano, who accompanied him to the sessions, Mr. Melfi changed his eating habits, shifting to a largely plant-based diet. He also resumed practicing karate (which he’d done in years past) and began daily practicing a type of Zen meditation.

As a result of the SMA and these other changes, Mr. Melfi lost nearly 20 pounds and his cholesterol dropped significantly — without medication.

Related Institutes: Wellness & Preventive Medicine
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