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New L. S. Skaggs Patient Wellness Center Opens July 11; Takes Interprofessional Approach to Serving Patients With Chronic Disease and Disability


The new L. S. Skaggs Patient Wellness Center, located in the Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Sciences Building, will open to the public on July 11. Funded by the Skaggs Foundation for Research and the JAX Foundation, the 4,000-square-foot center will house a large gym, the Jack Lunt Learning Annex, and three private consultation rooms. The new center will take an innovative, interprofessional approach to improving the health of patients with chronic disease or disability.

The center will build on programs offered by the Departments of Physical Therapy, Nursing, and Pharmacy, staffed by students from all three colleges and supervised by faculty. The center will provide a convenient approach and increased value for underserved groups of patients struggling with health challenges including Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, stroke, and diabetes.

"The Colleges of Health, Pharmacy, and Nursing have come together in this center to provide underserved patient groups with long-term solutions for improving their health and quality of life," said Health Sciences Chief Wellness Officer Robin Marcus, Ph.D.

The center will also provide new avenues for exercise-based research, an area where the University of Utah has garnered more than $10 million in major grant funding from organizations including the National Institutes of Health, National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, American Parkinson's Disease Foundation, and the Orthopedic Trauma Association since 2000. Planned research includes pharmacokinetics, the effects of bariatric surgery and extreme weight loss on drug absorption, and the impact of medication review and wellness counseling on medication adherence in chronic disease. Research at the center will also determine the impact of individual health coaching on reducing health care costs in those with chronic health conditions.

Program offerings in the new center are slated to include:

-National Diabetes Prevention Program. This evidence-based, yearlong lifestyle change program helps patients cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in half by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight.

-Intro to Diabetes Workshop. A two-hour workshop for those concerned they might be at risk for or have recently been diagnosed with diabetes that reviews lifestyle changes to prevent or reverse the disease.

-Intensive Lifestyle Program. This 12-week program teaches how a healthy lifestyle can improve sleep, energy, mood, and focus and consists of 12 weekly 90-minute sessions, access to supervised exercise and personalized coaching and wellness recommendations.

-Supervised Medical Exercise Gym. A supervised exercise program designed to promote a physically active lifestyle in a supportive group atmosphere (most participants will be referred by their physicians).