New Britain City Journal

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Walk with a Doc at Walnut Hill Park

People are often told there are many good reasons to walk. On Dec. 10 another reason will be added to the list as the Hospital of Central Connecticut (HoCC) holds its annual Walk with a Doc at Walnut Hill Park.

“It began in 2005 by David Sabgir a cardiologist, who noticed a need for people to get out and exercise,” said Kimberly Gensicki, senior marketing communication specialist for the HoCC. “It was a low key event in Columbus, Ohio and has grown.”

Gensicki learned about the walk and presented it to officials from the HoCC who grabbed onto the idea in order to help local residents.

The first one had 74 walkers and was the first Walk with a Doc in New England.

“It’s a positive thing to do for the community,” said Gensicki. “It’s important to increase awareness and the value of exercise and then it’s of extra value by adding a physician.”

The physician usually gives a 20-30 speech about their specialty. Then they walk with the participants allowing them to ask questions as they wish.

“We have a lot of repeat walkers who like to exercise,” said Gensicki. “We have the event at different locations across the state. This is the second time we’ve had it in New Britain.”

People from all ages across 40 towns participate and each walk has a different topic.

Dr. Robert Pepperman, a physiatriast, did a walk in June in West Hartford and spoke about back pain causes and its treatments.

“I thought it was very invigorating to be with people on a friendly basis outside,” said Pepperman. “There was about 90 people and they asked questions about arthritis, the lower back, when they need back surgery and pain management. “

He said it was great to give participants one on one time to talk about their issues while walking.

“I think everyone appreciated it,” Pepperman said. “It was a nice event.”

“The doctors enjoy doing it. They often call the office and ask to do it,” said Gensicki. “This will be our eleventh walk.”

Walkers are provided such things as water bottles from Pepsi, Anthem Blue Cross pedometers, a fanny pack and a hat from the hospital.

On Dec. 10, the next walk will be led by Dr. Robert Waskowitz, an orthopedic surgeon. He will discuss shoulder pain causes and treatment. It will be held 9 a.m. Saturday at Walnut Hill Park. It will include a 30-minute walk, health tips from an orthopedic surgeon, and during this holiday season, a food drive for the New Britain Food and Resource Center.

Sign-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. behind the pavilion. For the food drive, non-perishable items may be dropped off during sign-in.

To register, or for more information, including possible event cancellation on walk day in case of inclement weather, please visit or call 1-877-914-WALK. On walk day, registrants need to present a completed waiver form, available online with registration or on walk day. After the December event, walks will resume next April.