Providence kicks off health care series with panel on dementia

health care

Missoula Current

Providence Health and Services of Western Montana plans to resume its series on health care this week, opening with a panel discussion on preventing, diagnosing and treating dementia.

The series of public question-and-answer sessions, known as “Transforming Health Care,” was started in 2015 to help community members understand and navigate the world of health care.

The series explores a new topic each month. William Marcus, host of the PBS show “Backroads of Montana,” will host the events.

“These educational forums provide an open, inviting opportunity for community members to dialogue with experts, get valuable information, and hopefully gain confidence in how to manage their health and avoid preventable disease,” said Jeff Fee, chief executive of Providence.

The first discussion on dementia includes Sherry Reid, a neurology specialist with Providence, and Michael Kavanaugh, director of the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience at the University of Montana.

Margo Voermans, a caregiver who has looked after a close friend suffering from dementia for more than a decade, will also participate. After a brief panel discussion, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.

“Today’s health care consumers understand that they’re expected to play a more active role in managing their way through our complex and multi-faceted system,” said Steve Hiro, chairman of the Community Ministry Board for Providence. “We’re trying to equip them with the tools and information they need to do just that.”

Additional topics throughout the season will include immunizations, alternative care methods, depression, and others that have been selected based on audience feedback and requests during the 2015-2016 season.

The events are free and open to the public, and all talks will feature a cross-disciplinary panel of guests including physicians, scholars, community organizers, patients and local business leaders.

The talks take place on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Providence St. Patrick Hospital. For more information, visit the event website.