Community Health Events Can Benefit the Whole Family

Denise L. Johnson Miller, M.D.

For Denise Johnson Miller, M.D., Director of Breast Surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, active engagement with the community through health advocacy and initiatives such as Paint the Town Pink is not simply an avocation  - it's an obligation and a responsibility.

"I love doing it," she says. "And being a doctor isn't just about examining patients; it's more than that. To be out in the community, meeting people, informing them, helping them stay healthy, and then witness the results and be able say, 'See? This is what happens;' I take that responsibility very seriously."

Actively  promoting health and wellness through community education and engagement, Dr. Johnson Miller is a regular at events across Monmouth and Ocean counties and throughout the state. These events include everything from health screenings and lectures to pancake breakfasts and church events.

"God gave us this body, and a lot of times we abuse it, maybe don't take care of it like we should. Or, we approach taking care of it in a negative way, instead of looking at it like, 'If I take care of myself now, I just might live a little bit longer, have a healthier, happier time while I'm here, and not spend that time in a hospital,' " Dr. Johnson Miller says.

"I want to keep you out of the hospital," she adds. "And that's what these events are all about."

As part of Paint the Town Pink, Dr. Denise Johnson Miller will host an open house and breast health information session at her office, located in the Neptune City Medical Arts Building, at 2100 Corlies Avenue, Suite 12, in Neptune on May 13 from 3 to 6 p.m.
 
The Open House will provide information about breast cancer risk assessment, as well as the various procedures available in Dr. Johnson Miller's office. The event will include a raffle, prizes and refreshments and will continue with "Ladypalooza," an open house at Jersey Shore Imaging, located in the same building, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The next evening, May 14, Dr. Johnson Miller will participate in a special Spring Lake Physician Panel held at the Spring Lake Community House from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

This is Dr. Johnson Miller's second year involved with the Paint the Town Pink initiative, which she considers a "definite success" and an ideal platform to balance out the message of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

"By having another month in May, right after winter, people seem to come out really energized and motivated to take better care of themselves," she says. "I think that's one of the reasons Paint the Town Pink has been such a huge success."

She adds that by providing the opportunity for patients and physicians to connect on a deeper level, community health initiatives such Paint the Town Pink hit home and effectively convey the message that taking personal responsibility for your own health can be an easy and fun way to change your life for the better.

"I've seen new patients that were a direct result of our outreach," Dr. Johnson Miller says. "The goal is to be friendly, accessible and fun. It doesn't matter whether you're coming to see me, or if you're getting a blood pressure check. It's important to take care of yourself, and events like these make that as easy as possible."

Whether it's scheduling mammography, attending a nearby health screening, or simply going for a walk to start your day, Dr. Johnson Miller says it's these seemingly little choices we make day-to-day that have a major impact on our lives - and the lives of those closest to us - years down the line.

"When we're healthy, everybody in our family benefits. Developing healthy thinking will help cultivate a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't have to be a regimented, horrible exercise routine. Just go for a hike on a Sunday afternoon; go for a bike ride," she says. "If you do little things along the way, you can help prevent things such as breast cancer."