Eileen Whalen
President and Chief Operating Officer, UVM Medical Center

There are few better prescriptions for lifelong wellness than outdoor recreation, and Vermont is one of the best places in the world to get outside. For those of us who pine for the sun all winter long, these are bright mornings and warm evenings to deeply appreciate. By taking the proper safety precautions, we can enjoy activities that not only bring us joy in the moment, but help us maintain a level of fitness and health that will improve our lives for the months and years ahead.

The UVM Medical Center’s Emergency Department and Urgent Care treat many different types of injuries during the summer, from plant rashes, to bicycle accidents, to fireworks injuries. That’s why keeping safety top of mind is so important when we head outside for our favorite activities. We all know that we should wear helmets when riding bicycles or other forms of personal transportation. When we’re down at the lake, we keep an eye on children near campfires and around water. We also pack our coolers with hydrating beverages and carry sunscreen and bug spray everywhere.

Once we’ve got our helmets, sunscreen, bug spray, and water bottles, what’s next? There are so many opportunities. Those who live, work or play in the Burlington area can enjoy the Burlington Bike Path, which the city has done so much to improve over the past few years. The UVM Medical Center was proud to partner with the city and the Parks Foundation to install fitness equipment on the path. Clinicians with expertise in orthopedics, wellness, physical therapy and cardiac rehabilitation collaborated with experts from Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront to help select equipment that would appeal to all levels of fitness, address multiple muscle groups in the body, and include accessible and easy-to-understand instructions. This was a wonderful opportunity because it helps us to remember that no matter our level of fitness, we can get active and enjoy the view.

The UVM Medical Center was also excited to be part of the launch of Vermont’s first public bike-share system in early April. The launch in Burlington, Winooski and South Burlington is the first phase of a collaborative project that will soon include 300 bicycles available to ride and dock at about 50 hubs across seven Chittenden County towns, including Colchester and Essex. Our employees are already making enthusiastic use of the hub on our campus, and I hope members of the community will do so as well. Just be sure to remember your helmet!

If you have questions or ideas, please email me at AskEileen@UVMHealth.org.

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Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, is a former trauma nurse who now leads The University of Vermont Medical Center. She currently serves as co-chair of the RiseVT board, and co-chair of the Chittenden County Opioid Alliance board.