7 Top Executive Wellness Programs for Women
Medical services for C-suite executives have existed for years, but they’ve largely been designed with male patients in mind. That’s starting to change. These seven programs offer something unique for female executives.
When Worth covered executive health programs five years ago, our story was largely based on the experience of male patients. Today, some of the country’s top hospitals and medical entrepreneurs are addressing female executives’ specific screening and health needs, including birth control, perimenopause, menopause, bone density, breast and gynecological cancers.
“Women want to feel they’re being heard, that their needs are being met and that they’re in a program that’s not just designed for men and jury-rigged for women,” says the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Roxanne Sukol. “Women shouldn’t have to wear a men’s golf shirt to get excellent medical treatment from an executive health program.”
Here, some of the top resources in C-suite women’s healthcare:
The Cleveland Clinic Executive Health program measures patients’ vital statistics and uses sophisticated testing to assess their risk for disease, but it also focuses on self-care and emotional well-being. “In addition to their careers and home, my female patients tend to be concerned about how everything fits together in a way that makes everyone feel they’re included and part of the whole. They do that at home, at work, everywhere they go,” says preventative medicine specialist Dr. Roxanne Sukol. “Women tend to have different presentations for stress, depression, anxiety and cardiovascular risk factors. One of the overarching goals of our program is to help patients understand, identify and implement changes that reduce risk factors.” The Cleveland Clinic also has outposts in Toronto, Canada and Weston, Fla.
Dr. Riva RahlDallas-based Cooper Clinic places a premium on evaluating heart health, so female patients can expect a treadmill stress test, which gives doctors information about cardiovascular risk, blood pressure, blood pressure response to exercise, fitness and other subtle risk markers like poor heart rate recovery, says Dr. Riva Rahl, preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic. Female patients also have bone density tests because “many women with osteoporosis or osteopenia have no idea their bones are not as strong as they have been or could be.” Rahl checks vitamin D levels for deficiency, which is very common, can cause fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and has “many health implications relating to risk for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases and bone health.”
Yale-trained internist Dr. Lisa Larkin is on a mission to provide gender specific, C-suite level health services for 45- to 65-year-old women. “It was very clear to me that traditional executive health programs were not really addressing women’s health needs. The focus in medicine and research has always been that women are ‘small men.’ Very clearly, that’s not the case,” says Larkin, director of Women’s Corporate Health for Cincinnati’s TriHealth health system. Last year, Larkin launched Ms. Medicine, a Cincinnati-based women’s health concierge medical service. She expects to open another office in the Washington DC/Northern Virginia region by early 2020.
Like other traditional executive health programs, Larkin’s includes evaluations of a patient’s weight, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. In addition to providing a comprehensive physical, lab work, cardiac imaging and mammograms, Larkin gives patients a comprehensive questionnaire about aging, pelvic floor issues and hormonal changes. She then guides her patients through concerns about perimenopause, menopause and bone health. A breast cancer survivor, Larkin is passionate about assessing breast cancer risks in her patients, evaluating their risks with a series of complex algorithms. She also addresses sexual health and the issues prompted by aging pelvic floors. “In traditional executive health programs, no one’s touching it with a 10-foot pole,” she says, adding that traditional medicine still lags in training internists to care for middle-aged women. “If more women are educated and empowered to say: ‘I need gender-specific primary care,’ we’ll see more training and better care.”