‘Walk with a Doc’ chapter starts in Oak Ridge by high schooler, her dad

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — An Oak Ridge High School junior and her dad are trying to make it easier for people to fight depression and obesity during the pandemic.

Riya Sheth and her dad, Dr. Milan Sheth, started a chapter of “Walk with a Doc” in Oak Ridge and had their first walk on Saturday.

Riya Sheth said she would like to follow in her father’s footsteps someday and go into medicine,

“Just seeing my dad come home and talking about his patients,” Riya said. “And I live in a community where I’m around a lot of doctors so I get to hear a lot of patient stories, and just all the interactions just kind of made me want to pursue a career in medicine.”

Her dad, Dr. Milan Sheth, is a cardiologist for Covenant Medical Group.

“About a year ago in the middle of the pandemic, she would hear me come home and give stories of how patients are depressed and how the activity levels of our patients have gone down and their weight has gone up,” Dr. Sheth explained.

Those stories made Riya want to help her dad improve his patients’ quality of life.

“That’s just kind of what inspired it, is patients and depression and kind of getting them out of the house and walking which is really beneficial for your health,” said Riya.

After a lot of deliberation and looking into several programs, they found “Walk with a Doc,” a national program started in 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio.

“All day we are used to telling patients to put in 30 minutes of walking three to four times a week,” Dr. Sheth said. “So this is a way to show patients by us coming out and doing that we can proactively help their health and hopefully make it a fun event.”

Doing something active with the community is what brought Sara Brooks and her mom out to the event,

“We are concerned for our health and we know we should be walking for exercise and really need to take care of ourselves, especially as we age.”

Walk with a Doc isn’t just about exercise but it’s a way for doctors to share their knowledge with others outside of their practice.

“I learned that the more I can walk 30 minutes a day during the week the greater reduced risk of heart disease and stroke that I would have,” said Brooks.

Riya Sheth is encouraging her community to take it one step at a time,

“Maybe this will inspire others to maybe on their own walk around their neighborhood.”

One day she may be the doctor walking with her patients, but for now, she’ll continue to walk with a doc that she just calls dad.

The Sheths plan to continue this event on the second Saturday of every month and before each walk, a different doctor will speak on a different topic.

The next time they meet will be on September 11. Dr. Jose Malagon will be talking about the benefits of walking for mental health.

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