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2009 Press Releases
Morton Plant Mease Partners with the City of Clearwater and Pinellas County to Educate Citizens on Lung Health
CLEARWATER, Fla., (June 18, 2009)--The Morton Plant Mease Lung Center, City of Clearwater and the Pinellas County Health Department, are partnering together in an initiative designed to educate the community on exercises to build healthy habits and stronger lungs.

Instructional signs have been placed along the walking path at Glen Oaks Park on Court Street near downtown Clearwater. The eight signs along a 1/3-mile trail offer instructions and illustrations for walkers to work the upper body, and increase breathing ability. “Good lung function can greatly contribute to overall health and wellness. We want to help walkers strengthen the diaphragm and muscles surrounding the lungs,” says Dilshad Merchant, manager of the Morton Plant Mease Lung Center.

The idea came from Morton Plant Mease Lung Center Respiratory Therapist Carol Proctor. She was researching methods to help patients in the health system’s Lung Center and discovered a similar program in Germany. Morton Plant Mease designed the signs and the City of Clearwater installed them through funding from the Pinellas County Health Department. The signs were installed at a level that gives citizens in wheelchairs the ability to view the information.

“We are proud and honored to work with our local health care provider to make this information available,” said Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard. “Whether jogging or walking, our extensive trail system provides a free and easily accessible way to get healthy. These signs will add another way for residents to be informed.”

“This Path to Better Breathing demonstrates the effective partnership of the healthcare system and local government to address health concerns in our community. The Path to Better Breathing trail will provide those suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, an opportunity to improve shortness of breath and increase exercise capacity,” says Richard Curtin, Officer, Office of Health Promotion & School Health, Pinellas County Health Department.

The Morton Plant Mease Lung Center is located on the Morton Plant Hospital campus and in the Palm Harbor Wellness Center. It provides support to patients with lung disease through rehabilitation programs, diagnostic services, exercise programs and smoking cessation classes. The respiratory care departments at Morton Plant Hospital and Mease Countryside Hospital were recently awarded the 2009 Quality Respiratory Care Recognition from the American Association for Respiratory Care. The annual designation is given to hospitals that meet national guidelines and standards of respiratory care. Only 15 percent of hospitals in the United States hold this recognition.

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals – Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.