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By Scott Kahan, MD, MPH —

I’ve been struggling to articulate all that I’ve been wanting to share with you about the coronavirus outbreak for a few days now. I wanted to strike the right balance between offering guidance, sharing news, and providing you with practical information about our team’s response to COVID-19 and how it will affect you. 

First, I want you to know that the National Center for Weight and Wellness is here for you, as always; and our team remains committed to supporting you and providing ongoing care.  

Naturally, in this rapidly-evolving situation we are responding with your interests and safety in mind. Here’s some initial important things to know, and we’ll follow up with more in the coming days:  

1. Effective immediately, we are transitioning NCWW services (individual and group sessions) to virtual care methods. Many of our appointments already occur by phone or private videoconference, and we have found this an effective substitute for in-person meetings. A few notes:

  • Insurance reimbursement works the same as for an in-person visit.
  • We are expanding our investment in technologies to make these sessions even more productive. We will provide you information about using these tools in the days to come. 
  • If you have an upcoming appointment, we will reach out to you beforehand to ensure you have everything you need to connect with your provider. 
  • Yoga and exercise services are postponed for now.

2. I’m proud to report that our NCWW community is already supporting each other in new ways. This weekend we held virtual group sessions, which went great. I’m quite hopeful that this will serve as a comfortable substitute for in-person attendance until it becomes prudent to restart in-person meetings. Moreover, I anticipate that some long-term educational and support groups will value virtual meetings so much that they prefer to continue to work together remotely, even beyond the COVID period. 

  • Those who regularly participate in live groups and classes will receive guidance on how this will work and information on connecting, shortly.
  • For those wanting to engage or reengage in group sessions, or if you have questions, comments or concerns, feel free to reach out to me.
  • We also see this as an opportunity to expand our current offerings and extend group participation to those who may hot have been able to join in the past. In the next few days we’ll also share more information about this.  

3. Remember that our collective responsibility to stay healthy and take sensible precautions extends well beyond the benefits to ourselves. You have no-doubt received lots of guidance about how to stay safe, which I won’t repeat here, but will include useful information and insights on our website, here: .  

Staying healthy includes managing your physical and emotional well-being. Strategies for managing your health, observing and responding to stress, and listening to your body have always been a central part of our curriculum at NCWW. These topics and new ones will feature prominently in our ongoing conversations in the weeks to come. 

While it may feel superfluous to focus on your long-term health goals under current circumstances, the intensity and confusion of what we’re hearing and experiencing will ease soon. And every day brings us one day closer to returning to normal life. Cases in China and South Korea, whose outbreaks started earlier than ours, are already significantly decreased. While we will see more cases here, the sacrifices we are all making together will help to bring this to a close.

As we navigate the next few weeks, you may think about re-framing the inevitable worry and inconvenience as an opportunity: To reconnect with friends and family, especially those who may feel isolated; to catch up on tasks, whether reading, tidying up, or trying an online class; or to relax and recharge.

And especially if you are feeling upset or agitated, let’s learn from it – we might explore how we interpret and react to adversity or ambiguity, learn about and extend the ways we cope with challenges and setbacks, or pay attention to and practice juggling the many competing and conflicting interests that yank us in all directions and often away from our best intentions. Of course, we’re here to support you and work with you on these and other important areas of health and wellness.

In closing, I encourage you to exercise calm and caution, and to observe good health practices – for your own benefit, and also for the welfare of others.  Know that decades of public health experience, know-how, and preparation for situations like this will minimize the health impacts and bring a close to this outbreak, hopefully quickly. I’m quite confident that we’ll be on the other side of this soon.

Please let me know whatever we can do to support you. Call or email me, your other NCWW contacts, or our administrative team with your thoughts, questions, or concerns.