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Retired Ann Arbor Physician and Professor Wields New Media to Teach Health Science

Ann Arbor, MI (PRWEB) July 13, 2014

If Dr. Lawrence Power has his way, the innovative new online learning program he has just launched at will expand people’s understanding of the causes, consequences, and management of visceral obesity.

Power has set out to provide a health education platform on this modern epidemic and its ill effects that’s actually – dare we say it? – entertaining to dig into and learn from.

“The program,” says Power, “aims to engage the remote learner – the solitary individual signing on from a desktop, laptop, or smart phone. Its content addresses the obesity epidemic through interactive options like social media, a playfully simulated rocket launch, and game play.”

“Who knows?” Power adds. “This could serve as a model for the online learning methodology that higher education has been seeking.”

An Instructor by Word and Example

Half a century’s worth of medical education and experience has gone into Health Yourself 101. At 86, Power is a retired physician, medical professor, and media personality. A native of London, Ontario, he has lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan for most of his life. He came to Ann Arbor for the study, practice, and teaching of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Michigan’s Medical School. Power also taught internal medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Power was Chief of Medicine at Detroit Receiving Hospital (now Detroit General Hospital) in the 1970s and in private practice in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “My lifetime patient count exceeds 100,000,” he says. “The experience convinced me that most health issues we face are largely the end result of self-inflicted wounds.”

This, per Power, includes excessive visceral fat – the kind of body fat stored within the abdominal cavity around vital internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines.

Power is a published author on food and fitness. His book, Your Toxic Waist, tells how visceral obesity – or “the bubble belly,” as he describes it – leads to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and even cancer. The book is offered in print and e-reader editions through Amazon. The Health Yourself 101 portal site provides the link.

Power doesn’t just “talk the talk” – he literally “walks the walk” – on healthy living. His four children and nine grandchildren know him to have the energy of someone half his age. Power ran marathons for 25 years – including 15 completions of the storied Boston Marathon. Today, he walks five miles each day. He enjoys downhill skiing each winter.

Study, Review, Assess

Power has aimed Health Yourself 101 primarily at nurse practitioners, registered nurses, dietitians, and exercise physiologists. That is: “anyone working with overweight patients,” says Power; “Even the M.D.”

The Solitary Learner can start at Health Yourself 101’s portal site and link to Power’s daily tutorial tweets – his “tuts,” in Twitter parlance – that describe Teaching Patients who illustrate troubles to avoid. Each week, through posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a Teaching Patient provides real-life instruction. Tuesday and Thursday are times to engage Power in Q&A on the Teaching Patient.

Sunday Science posts cover topical health issues and new findings bearing on visceral obesity. They also set the stage for the Teaching Patient in the week upcoming. In this way, Health Yourself 101 works through 26 weekly lessons over a six-month period. Then the course will be reviewed, updated, and repeated over the next six months.

In designing this free online learning program, Power drew upon the latest research into effective university-sponsored use of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The most successful MOOCs, he found, provide an organized curriculum, the opportunity to ask questions of the Instructor, and a periodic review of course content. “They also,” he says, ”give students the chance to self-test their grasp of the material at their convenience.” Health Yourself 101 fulfills all of these requirements.

Self-assessment opportunities are available 24/7 on “Match Play,” a colorful tennis-themed quiz site. Students test their knowledge at four self-selected skill levels: Park Skill, Club Skill, Tour Skill, and Slam Skill. They work through the testing, volley by volley, as if playing against another team… “Game, set, match.”

For the student’s review of the previous month’s learning content, Health Yourself 101 has an onsite app called “Countdown.” Series of simple review statements, appearing alongside imagery of a fuming rocket on a launch pad, take the student step by step, in familiar rocketry fashion, from 10-9-8-7 to “Blast off!”

Legacy of Learning

Dr. Power is no newcomer to using the media to spread messages on health issues. For a decade, his “Food and Fitness” column appeared in over 200 U.S. newspapers by way of the Los Angeles Times Newspaper Syndicate. He also authored the monthly column “Matter of Fat” in the women’s health magazine Shape.

Power received The Wakley Prize – an international medical writing award – from the British medical journal Lancet for his essay on modern malnutrition. He co-authored the book Diabetes Outpatient Care Through Physician Assistants. His scientific papers have appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, Metabolism, and The Canadian Medical Association Journal.

TV viewers in the Detroit area saw Power as a frequent guest on local news broadcasts, sharing his health expertise. For five years, he regularly offered medical advice on the early evening news at WDIV-4, Detroit’s NBC affiliate.

Power also wrote Winning the Wellness Game, a handbook for risk factor reduction, and Good Clean Fun, a cookbook-style primer on healthy eating and living.

“This is my legacy,” he says of his new online venture. “Health Yourself 101 is not, by a big university’s standards, a true Massive Open Online Course. My MOOC is a Mini – yet it’s pretty much everything I want folks to know about the epidemic quietly killing us, in plain sight.”

Power adds, “The material is interactive and hopefully engaging. Look around you. Obesity is widespread – and getting worse. People everywhere need to learn a few defensive strategies, beyond fish oils, aspirin, and ribbons.”

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