The momentum of the Native Health Initiative’s Running Medicine wellness program is full speed ahead. This week, AmeriCorps honored the initiative as its “Best New Program Addressing a Critical Priority” at the 2017 Excellence in AmeriCorps Program and Service Awards in Arlington, VA. The award highlights new, outstanding and innovative programs that address critical priorities with meaningful outcomes.
Developed as a program of The University of New Mexico Native Health Initiative, Running Medicine was launched in 2016 to underscore body and mind wellness. Anthony Fleg, MD, assistant professor in the UNM School of Medicine’s Family and Community Medicine, has directed the program since its inception and is regularly at the events.
UNM students, faculty and staff participate in the triweekly fitness events, which nurture a loving and supportive community. Running Medicine leaders Danielle Kie and Michael Stocker were present at the awards luncheon to accept the honor on behalf of the group. Stocker, who spent the last year as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Indian Health Service in Albuquerque, was deeply involved with the expanding program. “Running Medicine isn’t just focused on community, it is community,” says Stocker. “Even as the program grows, Running Medicine continues to do the seemingly small, personal things, like closing circle, that make the group feel like one big family.”
Some events see more than 100 participants out supporting each other as they endeavor to maintain healthy lifestyles.