Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness Center

Providence Heart Institute at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center recently expanded our world-class care by opening Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness. Basecamp provides resources, inspiration and a community to help us on the journey to greater heart health. I recently spoke with James Beckerman, M.D., medical director for Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness.

Mike: James, thank you for taking time to talk to me. Basecamp Cardiac Prevention + Wellness Center opens this week. What makes Basecamp different?

James: Eighty percent of heart disease is preventable through lifestyle changes. Basecamp is a wellness center designed to rehabilitate patients and, importantly, prevent others from needing cardiac treatment in the first place. It’s open for patients, Providence caregivers and the public. We expect to serve 70,000 people a year.

Mike: Prevention is vital. Working with people before they need acute care is so important.

James: That’s right. For the past five years, I’ve been honored to train hundreds of amazing people in our community to walk or run their first 5K. At its inception, the Heart to Start program was focused on the obvious – get people more active and they will become healthier. But as we have grown, and as we have spread beyond Portland toward Newberg, Ore., and up to Walla Walla and Spokane, Wash., I have been amazed by the impact of creating a community and watching it become healthier before my eyes. This is why we built Basecamp.

Mike: Tell me what I can expect when I go to Basecamp.

James: Besides rehab and clinical services, the center has classes on cooking and nutrition, yoga, meditation and Tai Chi. Basecamp is a community–a support network to help you make changes and stick to them. Our Pathfinders program expands the support group infrastructure to provide solace and friendship to more people in our community, and our 1:1 peer-support program matches patients with someone who has already been down that road before. We also have wellness prescriptions from finding our best weight to reducing stress to becoming more fit.

Mike: What would you prescribe to me for reducing stress?

James: I’d have you start with, “I will practice relaxation.” Then, I’d give you some guidelines for progressive muscle relaxation. At Basecamp, our motto is “start small, finish remarkable.”

Mike: I like that. Focusing on prevention and resources to help people make small changes is a great step toward improving health in our communities. Thank you James.