Wednesday, June 10 – Walking is Good Medicine

9:45-10:00 AM             Connect to Zoom

10:00-10:10 AM           Welcome & Introduce Dr. Elliot Bruhl & Bonita Banks — Doug Osborne

Doug Osborne, M.A., works as a Health Educator at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). He is President of the Sitka Cycling Club and a League of American Bicyclist League Certified Instructor. Since 2004 Doug has been promoting walking and biking as an economical and environmentally responsible way to simultaneously meet needs for transportation, physical activity, and fun … all in one.

10:10-10:55 AM           COVID-19 and High Blood Pressure: preventing and treating high blood pressure through activity — Elliot Bruhl, MD (

Elliot Bruhl, MD, has 20-plus years of experience in both tribal and non-tribal healthcare.  Dr. Bruhl was welcomed to the SEARHC executive team in May 2019 to provide system-wide leadership to the medical staff and clinical employees, along with medical and clinical expertise to senior leadership. Experienced in coordinating mergers and redesigning physician-practice models, Dr. Bruhl brings with him a proven track record of enhancing medical staff coordination and implementing quality improvement measures in healthcare organizations across the western United States.  He is also familiar with both Sitka and SEARHC, having served as the medical director for Mountainside Clinic from 2006 to 2008 and Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital’s medical director from 2013 to 2015. Dr. Bruhl received his Bachelor of Arts in Geology from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, a Master of Science in Hydrology from the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID, and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Colorado in Denver, CO.  Prior to re-joining SEARHC, Dr. Bruhl served the Mayo Clinic as Medical Director of the Northeast and Northwest Family Clinic, consulting physician in the Mayo Clinic Department of Family Medicine, and Assistant Professor in the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

This session will cover important topics such as; Preventing and Treating High Blood Pressure through Activity, Pulmonary Hypertension and the risk of COVID-19 (Why you might be at a higher risk), The benefits of your Primary Care Provider and Pulmonary Hypertension, COVID-19 and its effects on the heart, Steps you can take to protect your health, and, Benefits of Regular exercise on cardiovascular risk factors.

10:55-11:40 AM           Getting the Community of Homer Walking (AK example)Bonita Banks, BSN, RN 

Bonita Banks, BSN, RN, is the Health & Wellness Educator for South Peninsula Hospital – a small non-profit critical access hospital in Homer, Alaska. Previously working in Oncology and Infusion Therapy, Bonita brought her passion for teaching patients with her when she joined the SPH team in 2014. A farm girl at heart, Bonita believes in the power of walking and its ability to improve many of the 8-dimensions of wellness.

We live in a state with unparalleled outdoor beauty and a plethora of opportunities to recreate, and yet data from Healthy Alaskans 2020 shows nearly 2/3 of adult Alaskan meet the criteria for overweight or obesity, and just over half of adult Alaskans report regularly completing 150 minutes or more of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week. The top two causes of death are consistently heart disease and cancer. Harvard Medical School tells us walking may be one of the most powerful “medicines” available to increase physical activity and lower the risks for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more. “Getting a Community Walking” tells the story of how the community of Homer embraces a regular walking program and engages 10% of the community in a month-long physical activity challenge.

11:40-11:50 AM           Chat Room ‘COVID-19 and Blood Pressure’ &  ‘Community of Homer’  — Doug Osborne

Introduce Lee Hart — Doug Osborne

11:50 AM-12:10 PM                 Connecting Communities, Overcoming Barriers — Lee Hart

Lee Hart is the founder of the Alaska Outdoor Alliance. AOA stakeholders are dedicated to ensuring Alaska has the best outdoor recreation economy in the world. Lee is an award-winning public relations and marketing consultant in the outdoor, bike, snow sports and adventure travel industries.

Join this highly interactive session where real-time polls, surveys and guided discussion will help us discover ways to mitigate real and perceived barriers to achieve shared goals. This is less of a lecture and more of a think tank where participants will help co-create new possibilities to encourage physical activity through active transportation in Alaska. Whether you walk, pedal, or roll, please join this discussion.

12:10-12:15 PM                 Wrap up Day 2 — Review Today, Preview Tomorrow, Chat Room — Doug Osborne