One way to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations in health care is
to become a regular attendee of the
Miracle of Living health education lecture series. On the third Wednesday of each month, experienced medical professionals
present credible health information to attendees.
“The lectures are one notch below what you would hear in medical
school. Attending can serve as a great adjunct to one’s physician
visit by providing useful, reliable patient education,” says
Eduardo Anorga, MD, a family practice physician and chair of the Miracle of Living committee.
The Miracle of Living lecture series was born from a collaborative effort
between a group of physicians and community members in 1972. The presentations
are free and open to the public. The objective is to help community members
understand the changes in health care and provide updates on services
offered at Torrance Memorial.
The lectures encompass a broad range of topics such as heart health, diabetes,
joint replacement surgery, dementia, anorexia, melanoma and more.
Moe Gelbart, PhD, executive director of the
Thelma McMillen Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment at Torrance Memorial, has presented numerous lectures through the years
on a variety of psychological topics such as depression, anxiety, substance
abuse, eating disorders and violence. “We provide practical health
information that helps people understand more about health and to discern
if something is a problem or not. The lectures reflect the commitment
by the hospital to patient education and the community. I’m proud
to be a part of it,” he says.
Another frequent speaker is cardiologist
Mark Lurie, MD, director of the
Melanie and Richard Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute at Torrance Memorial. Dr. Lurie has spoken on a wide range of cardiometabolic
topics such as heart disease, complications of diabetes and stroke, valve
disease and peripheral artery disease.
“What’s presented is extremely advanced, solid, scientifically
accepted and evidence-based information that is honest and straightforward,”
he says. Guests at Dr. Lurie’s lectures have come to expect that
cookies will be available—his requirement for participation. “I
feel they bring a touch of comfort,” he says, “but I also
have to say: Use only in moderation.”
Approximately 300 guests attend each month. Guests can fill out cards during
the program to write questions for speakers to address during the Q&A
session. They are also asked to fill out an evaluation form for future topics.
The Miracle of Living Committee reviews the forms the week following the
lecture. The topics and speakers are chosen by the committee, which is
comprised of community members and Torrance Memorial staff and physicians.
They choose topics by integrating requests from the community, along with
ideas from committee members and hospital staff.
Two longtime committee members from the community are husband and wife,
Dave and Toni Sargent. Toni has been on the committee since its inception.
With a lifelong interest in health, she says she was “thrilled to
become a part of this program.” In 2003, after Dave’s retirement,
she recruited him to join.
“Satisfaction” is the most common response Toni receives from
attendees. “People are thankful for this service.” She recalls
one attendee sharing his gratefulness for attending a lecture on heart
disease. He recognized he was having a heart attack and sought care quickly.
He believes his survival is a direct result of attending the lecture.