Healthie is excited to announce a partnership with MedFit Network (MFN). MFN is elevating the quality and accessibility of healthcare professionals working with our aging population and those with medical conditions, chronic diseases, and disabilities.
Healthie members now have access to discounted MFN membership, listing in the directory, and continuing education. The directory allows consumers to locate fitness and allied healthcare professionals who provide services for those with chronic diseases and medical conditions.
Lisa Dougherty, the president and founder of MedFit Network and MedFit Education Foundation, tells us her journey to creating this national project and how you can get involved.
Healthie: Tell us about MedFit Network (MFN).
MFN: MFN is a private database management company founded in 2013. It’s both a professional membership organization for fitness, allied healthcare, gyms/studios/integrative wellness centers, and students as well as a free online resource directory for consumers. Individuals can locate fitness, nutrition, and allied healthcare professionals with a background in prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation in working with those with chronic disease or medical conditions.
We have partnered with the National Arthritis Foundation, American Breast Cancer Foundation, Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, MS Fitness Challenge, National Osteoporosis Foundation and other organizations to provide free resources for their constituents to find qualified fitness & allied healthcare professionals.
Healthie: What was your inspiration for creating MFN (MedFit Network) and MFEF (MedFit Education Foundation)?
MFN: I was inspired by my dad, who was battling cancer #2 at the time, to want to pursue a career in helping others. I had an opportunity to go back to school to UC Irvine in California, 20 years ago, and pursue a career in fitness and health. I opened Whole Body Fitness in 1999 and took many specialty certificate programs over the next few years to create a “medical fitness” personal training business. I think I was way ahead of my time! People from all over the U.S. began emailing me, about 8 years ago, inquiring if I knew of someone like me in their area. Unfortunately, I had no idea if there were other practitioners out there, and if I did what their educational background was.
I realized there was a need to connect these people with qualified and educated professionals who could help them. So, MedFit Network was born.
When I did some research, I discovered that chronic disease and health risk behaviors that cause them account for most healthcare costs in the U.S. Eighty-six percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.
There are approximately eighty million baby boomers (aged 50 and over) in the United States making up 30% of the nation’s population. As this group ages, we are seeing a significant increase in obesity, chronic disease, and individuals with multiple medical conditions.
Among the many conditions a boomer client may face are joint replacements (often two or more), arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, and muscle loss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2030, the number of U.S. adults aged 65 or older will more than double to about 71 million. The rapidly increasing number of older Americans has far-reaching implications for our nation’s public health system. It will place unprecedented demands on the provision of health care and aging-related services.
Regular physical activity is one globally accepted strategy to promote and preserve health. Diet plays a huge part in prevention, long-term health, and quality of life too.
After creating MFN 5 years ago, I saw a huge gap in continued education for fitness and allied healthcare professionals to stand confidently alongside the medical community as a “trusted” referral partner. If we are truly going to be a respected part of healthcare, we need the education to do so. It also needs to be ongoing.
Last summer I created the MedFit Education Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), for several reasons. I wanted to elevate the quality and the amount of available education for fitness and allied healthcare professionals to learn how to best work with our aging population and those with medical conditions/chronic disease or physical/intellectual challenges. I also wanted to spread this type of education throughout the U.S. via live conferences – “Medical Fitness Tours,” webinars, and online through MedFitTV.org.
Healthie: Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey starting MFN. What was the biggest obstacle you faced?
MFN: I have always been a self-starter since I was a little girl. I was the kid with the lemonade stand. I have always felt my mission in life was to do something “special” in the world. Creating this project from the ground up with very little resources and no money has been my biggest challenge. I have been very fortunate to have so many people and hundreds of companies support this project by donating time, money, and resources to make it all happen.
I have also had to learn through “on the job experience.” I had never tackled anything like this in my life. I think doing it this way was very rewarding though. My dad was my mentor and cheerleader. He was always super proud of me for bringing all these people and companies together to serve the greater good.
I have received quite a bit of attention along the way. I was featured in the Huff Post and acknowledged by the White House as a Champion of Change finalist in 2016 for this project a week after I lost my dad to cancer #4. It was a bittersweet moment. Beyond this, I caught the eye of United Healthcare – Population Health Management and Mayo Clinic. They were very interested that I was building a directory of fitness and allied healthcare professionals that had education or services on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of chronic disease, medical conditions, those with disabilities, and women’s health issues including pre and postpartum healthcare.
Healthie: What are the benefits for a provider to join MFN?
MFN: Well, I’m really proud about the benefits I put together for those who join this project. I honestly feel it is one of the best membership organizations out there as I created it from a member’s standpoint. The benefits outweigh the cost. My goal is to reward those on this registry for being part of this project.
- Full page profile on the MFN directory. Increase your credibility and online exposure by being part of this national registry.
- Free bi-monthly educational webinars, led by leaders in the industry, ($220 annual value!)
- Annual subscription to MedFit TV, a video site offering educational videos, webinars and interview with experts.($99 annual value!)
- Exclusive member discounts on continuing education, certifications and products from our 80+ partners. Most education partners offer $50+ off courses to offset the cost of your membership.
- Member discount ($50 off!) on the Medical Fitness Tour, a traveling conference educating professionals in medical fitness and active aging.
- Member discount for Toolbox Genomics DNA testing kits, to integrate DNA testing into your services and create a truly personalized plan.
- Social media exposure with MFN and our medical and health organization partners.
- Access to the private MFN Professional Group Forum, where you can network with other professionals and seek advice from experts
- WellCard Savings Card
- Opportunity for your professionals to become an “MFN Industry Expert” by submitting content to the MFN blog.
- Opportunity to have your business & services featured on the new MedFit TV.
- MFN professional member badge linked to your profile to proudly display on your website and email signature.
Healthie: How do you think technology is making it easier for providers to work with clients and improve access to care?
MFN: Wow, since I graduated college and grew my business by placing flyers on car windshields… technology has sure grown! Having an awesome website with your services and education to back up these services is extremely helpful. Gaining knowledge on how to promote your business and expertise on social media is something we all have to come to terms with. Learning about and understanding wearable devices for health and fitness, nutrition, supplements, and genomics is important. Managing your business and clients/patients through a software platform, like Healthie, is a must for this new age health practitioner.
Also keep in mind that America’s aging are internet savvy. They spend time researching online before deciding who and where to get help from when their physician suggests starting an “exercise program,” “eat healthy,” “lose weight,” “manage stress,” etc. It is clear that the fitness and healthcare industry is a large benefactor of a longer-living community. The demand for these industries is only going to grow as our population grows and ages.
Healthie: What’s next for MFN?
MFN: Since I’m an entrepreneur through and through, MedFit Classroom is coming next. We will be working with the top education companies in the U.S. to curate courses/workshops on the following topics:
Active Aging, Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Aquatic Rehabilitation, Autism, Cancer, Diabetes, Disabilities, Fall Prevention, Fibromyalgia, Genomics, Heart Disease, Joint Replacement, Medical Fitness Opportunities, Mental Health Challenges, Multiple Sclerosis, Nutrition, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, Prevention of Chronic Disease, Post Surgical Rehabilitation, Respiratory Disease, Sleep, Stress Management, Stroke and women’s health issues including pre & postpartum care.
MFN members will get discounts on all of these, of course!
To find out more about MFN and to receive 20% off your first year of membership, visit their website (use code HEALTHIE20).