Don’t Believe the Hype

In a previous post, we discussed that widely available, objective information can help prevent disease and promote health. But you’ve probably observed that a lot of health advice changes if you wait long enough.

It’s hard to lead a healthy lifestyle when the rules keep changing. Remind me, where do we stand now on coffee, red wine and chocolate?

As a physician, I recognize that health care is an art as well as a science—it’s a process of discovery. So while it can be confusing to keep up with the latest health headlines, there is always tried-and-true advice: Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit foods high in sodium and unhealthy fats. Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much. Get moving!

Johns Hopkins clinicians recognize the need for trusted, hype-proof health information online and in our local communities.

Through our global affiliations, they also have the opportunity to bring this vital knowledge to consumers around the world. I help guide this work as part of my role with Johns Hopkins Medicine International as vice president for academic affairs. One specific program that successfully promotes community education is the Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) Distinguished Faculty Visit program that I co-lead with JHI’s project team and JHAH’s C-Suite.

Through the program, we invite Hopkins faculty leaders to spend 2-3 days in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, collaborating with JHAH clinicians through Grand Rounds and departmental meetings, and delivering outreach health education talks to the general Saudi Aramco and local communities.

Since the program’s start in February 2015, more than 1,500 community members have participated, receiving the latest, unbiased information on medical treatments and preventive health. Topics have included dietary recommendations for obesity and hypertension, diabetes prevention and treatment options for colorectal cancer, which ranks first in males and third in females among all cancers in Saudi Arabia.

Sound advice can guide virtually every aspect of health and well-being. Through our global educational outreach, JHI promotes health by increasing knowledge, shaping attitudes and changing behaviors. We are committed to providing our patients accurate information in the appropriate context at the right time in their lives.