August 2001 Bulletin

Orthopaedists sell prevention to 5K runners

By Carolyn Rogers

The desire to share vital information about bone health and osteoporosis prevention with health-conscious women sparked an idea for orthopaedic surgeon Kimberly Templeton, MD, of Kansas City, Kan. Hundreds of thousands of women and men gather for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation National Race for the Cure 5K runs all across the country—why not take advantage of these gatherings to share information on osteoporosis?

After securing a sponsor and receiving the blessing of the Academy’s women’s health issues committee, the project’s trial run took place at the Race for the Cure run in Washington, D.C. on June 2. Dr. Templeton and Laura Tosi, MD, distributed osteoporosis and bone health pamphlets to participants and answered questions at a booth sponsored by Merck Pharmaceuticals.

"With over 72,000 participants, this race was an excellent opportunity for us to hand out a great deal of educational material regarding ways to maintain bone health, as well as warning signs for osteoporosis," Dr. Templeton reports. "It also allowed for direct interaction between Dr. Tosi and I and the community, with many opportunities for one-on-one discussions regarding bone health. This group of people is obviously extremely interested in women’s health issues and is in tune to issues such as osteoporosis. They were grateful for the information we were able to give them."

The plan is to participate in five races across the country to enhance community awareness of osteoporosis, as well as the orthopaedic surgeon’s role in the evaluation and treatment of bone disorders. If the project goes well and continues to receive funding, Dr. Templeton wants to increase the project by five races every year. Merck’s funding of the project involves paying for the tables at the races and providing some of their brand-neutral pamphlets and patient education materials. The Academy also is supplying patient education materials.

"My plan is to go to all five of the races, to make sure everything runs smoothly," Dr. Templeton says. "But I’d also like to get local orthopaedists to come to the races to raise awareness that orthopaedic surgeons are interested in osteoporosis."

Plans are definite to attend the Kansas City, Mo., race on August 12, as well as the run in Wichita, Kan., on Sept 29. With more than 100 cities holding the Race for the Cure—and with many of these races occurring on the same day—staffing the remaining two runs are up in the air at the moment. But the race in Boston on September 9 is a possibility.

Numerous people approached Dr. Templeton and Dr. Tosi at the D.C. race with questions regarding whether they should have a bone density test. And while many breast cancer survivors know that they are at risk for osteoporosis, a lot of them asked about the risk of osteoporosis to their family members, and if they should be tested, as well.

"While it’s nice to hand out the pamphlets," Dr. Templeton adds, "most of the gratification comes from the one-on-one interaction that you have with people who are truly interested in osteoporosis and want to talk about it with us."

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