Program Report: Dr. Adam Perlman – Duke Integrative Medicine

Dr.PerlmanIntegrativeMedicineWebI guess I had a vague notion of what “integrative medicine” is, but Dr. Perlman set me straight on what it is and what it isn’t.  It is a combination of Western “scientific” medicine and Complimentary Alternative Medicine.  More and more medical schools, hospital and individual physicians have embraced integrative medicine over the last two decades.  A 1993 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine gave integrative medicine a big boost and revealed that about a third of the American population had resorted to alternative treatments: acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, nutrition, fitness, meditation, mindfulness retreats, journaling, chiropractic to name only a few.

Since then about 60 academic health centers have formed the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health.  Duke University has played an important role in giving this movement impetus and has built a state of the art facility for the practice.  Other prominent members of the Consortium include Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and Mayo Clinic.  Trained in Boston, Adam Perlman came to Duke in 2011 as Executive Director of Duke Integrative Medicine and also leads the Duke Diet and Fitness Center as well the Duke Health and Fitness Center.  Toward the end of the program, Jim Leak in his usual exuberant manner testified to the effectiveness of the Health and Fitness Center.  One would never believe that Jim once weighed in—if I heard him correctly—at 235 lbs.  One can only imagine the costs of the new wardrobe, but worth every penny!

Perlman contends that health is not just the absence of disease in which medicine strives to get measurements of blood pressure or glucose levels back to normal.  Integrative medicine attempts to develop a sense of well-being often depending on diet but also can have spiritual and emotional dimensions.  It emphasizes prevention rather than treatment.

The major health costs in this country—70%–go for diabetes, heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure and depression.  And each of these is potentially preventable through changes in diet, exercise, cessation of smoking, good sleep, moderate alcohol consumption.

Integrative Health affirms the development of a sound relationship between provider and patient.  The pop in-pop out practice that we traditionally experience doesn’t lead to meaningful relationships.  The leading complaint by patients is not having enough time to discuss their health concerns.  The typical encounter between patient and provider in integrative medicine is from 30 to 60 minutes.  Beyond that, openness between provider and patient is also important.  Integrative medicine encourages patients to share in decisions about their health.

The Q&A session led to some interesting and sometimes amusing moments.  In a question about herbal medicines, Perlman said they can help but the body doesn’t really recognize the difference between them and manufactured medicines.  What diet is most effective?  Perlman says he uses a modified Mediterranean diet but lifestyle modification is important.  In a light moment, a visiting physician whose name and whose age did not diminish his nimble mind said he saw a lot of women during his practice who presented with stomach complaints.  The cause, it turns out, is that their husbands were about to retire!  I don’t suppose there is a better example of what integrative medicine can expose.

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg               

Rotary Minute: Harvey Sellners

HarveySellnerThe Biblical story of the good Samaritan was the invocation and appropriate prelude to his Rotary Minute. From Aerospace to water systems where they are needed the most,  Harvey Sellner in his own words:

I was born in Detroit and lived the first 8 years of my life there.  We moved to a lake in the country, near Birmingham outside of Detroit where I finished growing up.  I had always been fascinated with electronics and became a ham radio operator at age 14.  I graduated from Michigan State in Electrical Engineering and that took me to California to work for Hughes Aircraft.  I worked on the Surveyor spacecraft, which led me to JPL where I worked as a systems engineer and got to see it launched.  There we built the Mariner 4 Mars orbiter, launched in 1970.  while at JPL I married Calla who many of you who attended Meg’s bash Saturday know as a U of M grad, and yes I did get a frosty reception after the party.  While in California Calla missed the 4 seasons and so when I had an opportunity to go to Connecticut I took it, to work on a spy satellite project.  While there we built the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra x-ray telescope satellites.  I was in R&D there so I got to do many other things as well.

So, I left aerospace after a 30 year career and started a non-profit that has waxed and waned over the last 20 years.  Its reason for existence was and is to pave the way for utilizing technology for tackling pervasive problems in developing countries.  Not surprisingly it’s called World Help through Technology.  Safe drinking water was where we started.  Now we are developing technologies work on the hunger problem.

While in Connecticut We had one daughter, Cathleen.  She went to Cornell where she met her future husband and then to Johns Hopkins for medical school where she was married, and thence on to Duke for internship and residency.  She is now a geriatric fellow at Duke, and her husband is a professor at Duke Divinity School.  They have 2 boys, one in high school and the other in college.  So after 43 years in Connecticut Calla and I moved to Durham where we have spent the last 5 years enjoying the family, especially the grandkids.  That’s who I am in a nutshell.

I want to talk about Rotary for a minute.  Several people have looked at my lapel and noticed a rather dull brass pin with some words on it “service above self”, and ask me what it means.  The explanation is lengthy and so I say that every August Rotary holds a drawing and every 10,000th person gets one.  The long version of the story is worth telling, because it illustrates how through the magic of Rotary, ordinary people are able to accomplish extraordinary things.  Back then there were over 1.2 billion people without safe drinking water, but that fact was not well publicized.  I spearheaded a campaign in our club and district to do programs in Haiti and in Ghana, and later set up a booth at the RI convention to involve other countries.  It was there I met Ron Cowan, a District Governor with a lot of high-powered connections.  He was really moved when he talked with us and asked me if I would really like to do something big in water and I said “of course”.  He then proceeded to arrange a meeting in Washington with a select group of execs from international agencies – UN, PAHO and others. The outcome of that meeting was that the UN declared the next 10 years as “the millennium of safe water”, and it is a continuing UN focus area.

The other thing that happened was that one of my friends went on to become Vice President of RI, a 2 year position.  He said “I’m here, use me”.  So, I wrote a white paper with the thesis that safe water should be the follow-on to Polio Plus which was scheduled to end in 2005, and explained just how it could be achieved.  The trustees reviewed it and decided that they were so bogged down that there would not be another campaign like Polio Plus.  However they did say that water projects would be one of 4 focus areas for the upcoming year:  And this has now been extended for the last 15 years.

So, that’s the long story of my pin, and how anybody in this room can be awarded one through the magic of Rotary.

Rotary Minute: Indira Everett

IndiraEverettMinuteIn her own words…

Good Afternoon,

I’m Indira Everett and it’s certainly a pleasure for me to provide today’s rotary minute and a little of my background. I am originally from a small town near Greenville NC called Williamston where my 86 and 84 year old parents still live. I have 1 brother who is 12 years older and lives in Odessa, Florida. And, I’m blessed to have married my high school friend Roosevelt Everett after not seeing him for 25 years. Roosevelt and I grew up living around the corner from each other and after high school went our separate ways…me to Raleigh to attend NC State University and he to England where he started his career in the Air Force and later retired in 2008. Today, we both currently work in Durham. I started working at Duke Energy in 2013 after its merger with Progress Energy where I had worked for 23 years, and my husband works in RTP. And, I have a 26 year old stepson who lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

As I thought about what I would say regarding my involvement with service and the community, I had to go back to the beginning and start with my childhood. Both my parents always taught me that “you reap what you sow” and so you should always be careful about how you treat others in word and deed. They taught me never to do things for recognition but out of a commitment to make life better for someone else.

Both my parents were educators, a teacher and a principal, and I always saw them giving back to their students and to those in the community through their church and in very informal ways. They would spend time mentoring young kids and sharing food for thought or just a meal if a kid was hungry and they still do that today. They never belonged to a formal Rotary club but they practiced rotary tenets every day. Growing up we had a garden across the street from our house and we raised vegetables that we shared with the less fortunate, particularly, the elderly. And today, my husband and I share that same passion for helping the less fortunate. I enjoy volunteering through my church where I have served as a trustee since 1998 and I especially like volunteering at homeless shelters, most recently at the Durham Rescue Mission where my husband and I coordinated a group of employees to serve the residents there.

Last November, we moved to Durham from Garner and we love the area. Durham had never been an unknown to me because I spent a lot of time visiting here when my brother attended NC Central. His roommate was your current county attorney, Lowell Siler, my god-brother. Today, I manage Duke Energy’s government and community relations at the local level covering 4 counties, Durham, Orange, Lee and Chatham and so my office really is in my car as I travel back and forth throughout the week trying to engage in each county.

One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to reach out to the community and give back through advocating for foundation grants that support the community. In fact, in 2014, I helped secure over $204,000 for worthy Durham organizations including 18 Durham rotary member organizations like the Life and Science Museum, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Tech, and the Durham Arts Council. It is certainly rewarding to know that my company has and continues to help make a difference in the community. So to me, I’ve found the perfect blend of personal and professional stewardship. Through rotary, I have the opportunity to hear about the needs in the community and actively participate by giving in so many ways through volunteer efforts or funding.  For the last few years, I coordinated efforts for our employees to donate supplies for the “Fill that Bus” campaign and clean-up efforts at Ellerbe Creek and SEEDS earlier this summer.  It truly is rewarding for me to sow into the community and in the lives of others through the means I’ve been blessed to manage, whether personally or professionally. So today, I want to thank you for joining me and sowing back into the community as well.

Rotart Minute Redux: Deana Labriola

Deanaminute2An updated Rotary Minute from Deana…In her own words…

A little over two years ago, I came up and gave my Rotary Minute.  Now I will tell you a few of the lessons I’ve learned.

  • Early lessons in giving and service above self were a result of my father.  Barely a high school graduate, owned a bar on the southside of Chicago.  Chicago is where I grew up.  My dad did whatever he could to make his customer’s day a little brighter. Listened, gave food away on holidays for folks that had nowhere to go, helped pay their electric bills, watched their kids and sent them to sporting events. His job was much more than a bar owner.  Cared about each and every member of his community. He taught me that one person and one act can make a difference.
  • My mom’s influence was of an entirely different kind.  Taught tolerance and intolerance, fight for who you are and what you believe in.   My parents divorced when I was 13.  Mom came out as gay. I didn’t realize until much later the influence this would have on me. I lived through having to tell people and gauge their reactions (which in the late 80s was a different time, especially in suburban IL).  She was mom to me, no matter what the world defined her as.  Mom got reprimanded for bringing her serious girlfriend to a work function.  But also saw my grandmother accept and love her because she was her daughter.   This tolerance and intolerance taught me a lot about my mom’s strength and resolve to be herself, but more importantly about my own take on how to treat people in the world.  This taught me that there are always human choices we can make, even if we disagree.
  • Interestingly, my husband has taught me the most about compassion and courage.  Unapologetically, I am in a very good marriage.  Tough breaks do come to good people.  My husband is enormously intelligent, but was a misunderstood kid.  Got placed in the low achieving classes as a result of ADHD; which followed him into adulthood.  The world has not been fair to him.  But through a lot of self-discipline and courage, he and I have faced this disease in adulthood and we learn how to endure the daily challenges that this presents.  I want you to imagine the millions of kids diagnosed with ADHD in their youth not being given the skills to succeed in life with the disease, but then being expected to function in the world, when they’ve not been taught how to do so.  It’s a challenge we face daily.  My husband has taught me to be compassionate of the hand that others are dealt, and to live by that famous quote, “be kind, for everybody is fighting a great battle”.  That could not be more true in my husband’s case.
  • And finally, my 6 year old daughter has taught me that nothing I do in this world will ever be as fulfilling as it is to be her mom.  To say that she has taught me love would be an understatement.  She has given me life.  Made me profoundly aware of the responsibility that I have to her.  Not just in being a good mother; but in showing her a respectful marriage, and being a responsible citizen and an honest professional.  So while I spend my days as a corporate lawyer with the lawfirm of Ward & Smith, my higher calling is to model the behavior I want her to put out in the world – no matter what her professional or personal choices may be.
  • A few other fun footnotes – I made it to NC by way of living and practicing law in Washington, DC for several years, I played golf and softball at the collegiate level, live in Duke Park, teach a 75 minute cycling class at the Y AND I am an avid NFL and fantasy football fan.  Avid = just short of crazy.
  • So when we talk about the lessons of service, tolerance, responsibility, and compassion, it’s obvious why I’m here with you today.  That is what I have been shown through so many wonderful people that have been a gift in my life, but those are also the tenets of Rotary, and what brings us together each week.  Thank you.

Rotary Minute: Arthur Rogers

ArthurRogersMinuteArthur Rogers used his Rotary Minute to talk about the benefits of hosting Peace Scholars. One in particular, who was here without his family, he now considers a member of his. Most peace scholars do come with family and their host helps them get established with things such as housing. Unlike exchange students, these are adults that live independently once established. In a small way, the interaction with the Peace Scholars mirrors their mission to provide international understanding through connections with others in different cultures and countries. Arthur emphasized how enriching this experience has been for him and his whole family.

Rotary Minute: Keith Artin

KeithArtinMinuteWEbIt’s been said many times, if you want to get to know another Rotarian, work side by side with them on a Habitat house. I got to learn a little bit about Keith’s persistence when we took turns inside the foundation of the Barada Habitat house on Plum Street using a single shot nail gun to fasten insulation board to cinderblock wall. As the sun rose steadily it reflected off the plastic vapor barrier and heated it up like an oven. Instead of persistence, I started wondering if a frog really won’t jump out of a pot that is heating up until it’s too late.

No surprise then when on Monday he told us that while in San Francisco, he trained for and completed the Wildflower Half Ironman. Okay, he finished 1390th out of the 1394 who finished, but how many of us have ever attempted an Ironman much less finished. Why do it? Well, they raised several thousand dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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