The sister programs, teaching professional and youth alike, engage participants in educational and philanthropic programs across Bartow County.
Throughout the year-long course, leadership participants coordinate events tailored to specific issues in the community. In March, Youth Leadership and Leadership Bartow conducted Health & Wellness Day. Each program had objectives within their course. Youth Leadership sought to expose students to career opportunities within the health and medical fields while Leadership Bartow increased the awareness of local professionals concerning resources available within the county.
Both groups spent time exploring aspects of Cartersville Medical Center. Marketing Director Ginger Tyra detailed the hospital's program for Youth Leadership.
"We conducted a tour for the youth leadership group, which included the laboratory, the emergency department, mother/baby, and I would say probably the highlight would be Air Life. The helicopter [ambulance] came for the day just so they could give the kids an overview of careers -- and basically that's what we did in every department," Tyra said. "Not only did we take them through and say, 'Here's the lab' or 'Here's the emergency department,' but we also talked about different career opportunities at all levels."
Career-level participants in the Leadership Bartow program spent time within Cartersville Medical Center on a simulator for the hospital's new DaVinci Robotic Surgery System. Classmates each got to spend some time completing exercises inside the surgeon's console, which during surgery would be remotely operating robotic arms. Looking into the high-definition, 3-D display, Leadership Bartow participants got a feel for what a surgeon sees and experiences behind the console.
Executive Director of the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter Jessica Mitcham helped arrange activities for the day as chairman of the Leadership Bartow Health & Wellness Committee.
"The goal of Health and Wellness Day was to make sure that class members were aware of all the health and wellness resources in the community. One of our personal goals was, there are certain types of health care that some people in our community think if you need access to you automatically have to leave Bartow County," Mitcham said. "So the goal was to make sure the class was aware that in some of those areas there are great resources in this community."
One area of care Mitcham spoke to directly was cancer treatment. Trying to remove negative perceptions of local resources, Leadership Bartow spent time at the Hope Center and learned about high-dose-rate brachytherapy, a new treatment for breast cancer now available in Cartersville.
Another aspect of the Leadership Bartow Health & Wellness Day focused on health care and prevention options as well as end-of-life care. Presenting information on wellness issues were panelists discussing the topics of acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care and nutrition. Speaking to the issues of death and dying were a hospice social worker, the Bartow County Coroner, an assisted living facility director and a funeral home owner. A final panel of doctors and health care professionals spoke to issues of caring for the uninsured.
Issues of wellness and treatments viewed as non-traditional received some of the most feedback from event organizers and participants. Mitcham was particularly impressed with yoga instruction from Sue Hopkins of Etowah Valley Yoga and a presentation from acupuncturist Dr. Kate Raymond.
"Listening to her talk about acupuncture, it seems like a really normal response to a health concern, and even she would say that, generally, 90 percent of the people she sees they have tried everything under the sun and nothing works and they're finally working with her and she's having unbelievable success helping people with chronic pain, hypertension, diabetes. And it's very noninvasive compared to what else people are trying to treat things like that," Mitcham said.
At the end of the Leadership Bartow Health & Wellness Day, participants and volunteers collected 16 pints of blood in a blood drive for Blood Assurance.
Applications for the upcoming 2012-2013 Leadership Bartow and Youth Leadership classes will be accepted through Friday, April 20, at the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.cartersvillechamber.com or contact Government and Community Development Director Leslie McMillan at 770-382-1466 or firstname.lastname@example.org.