Doctors who skip rope with their patients: We Can, with Ashley McClure, MD

Andre – he can View on

This is Andre, wearing Google Glass (@GoogleGlass).

He let me take his photograph after he announced to the “We CAN” Friday group, led by Ashley McClure, MD, that his hemoglobin A1c dropped from 11.0 to 6.7 (which is really really good for someone with diabetes). He’s lowered it since December, 2012, and comes to the We Can group to motivate others.

Ashley is an internal medicine physician at Unity Health Care in Columbia Heights, in Washington, DC. She contacted me earlier this year because she’s interested in innovation, and she’s doing a lot of it herself, and as I say, if I can walk to it, I’ll do it.

Chuck Webster, MD (@WareFlo) combined something we have been doing, #GlassFriday, with something Ashley is doing, the “We CAN” group for her patients. 

In this morning program, patients are invited to share their health experiences with each other, as well as learn health topics, capped off with some joint exercise. This day’s topic was healthy eating, and specifically the role of protein.

After the learning session, we walked together to Meridian Hill / Malcolm X Park where Ashley joined in some physical activity with her patients.

Although a visit like this seems like the “of course” thing to do, I believe that the business model and operations of a safety net medical center can make it challenging, especially when they are reimbursed per in person visit. A group like this can be revenue neutral, as Ashley explained to me, but it takes work and dedication. 

Ashley is a physician with a scholarship through the National Health Service Corps which will allow her to serve and innovate for another 2 ½ years in this role.

She’s also part of a new generation of what I’ll call “total health” physicians, who are engaging their patients and the environments around them for better overall health. Ashley is interested in transportation systems and societal support to help people make healthy choices. These doctors walk. They skip rope. They wear Google Glass, with a purpose.

More and more of Washington, DC’s 8,940 licensed physicians are going to be like Ashley, and they are going to change everything – imagine 8,940 walk with a doc meetings happening at once…

When Andre told the group about his hemoglobin A1c, he got emotional, and maybe all of us did a little, too. He could :).


Ted Eytan, MD