Summit Focuses on Connection Between Health, Lifestyle

Two-day Event Designed for Both Medical Providers, Community Members

Lifestyle plays a huge role in health. Eating right while getting enough sleep and exercise can help people feel better and get more out of their daily lives. A special two-day conference next month, sponsored by ThedaCare, aims to emphasize the connection between lifestyle changes and improved health.

The Lifestyle Medicine Summit will be held Wed., Oct. 2, and Thurs., Oct. 3, at the Best Western Bridgewood Resort Hotel in Neenah. The free event features nationally known speakers and is geared toward medical providers during the day and the general community in the evening.

“We wanted an event that focuses on how lifestyle changes can improve health,” said Sandy Panzer, vice president of health services for ThedaCare At Work. “People don’t always understand the connection between what they do and their health. There is a huge misconception that chronic disease is mainly due to genes and age, but the truth is that lifestyle plays the biggest role.  The good news is that means we are in greater control of our health than most people believe. Our hope is that by hearing this information, they’ll be inspired to make changes to battle their diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases.”

The general public is invited to attend one or both of the following free presentations: 

  • Rip Esselstyn, author of “Engine 2 Diet,” will speak at 7 p.m. on Oct. 2.  A former professional triathlete, Esselstyn later became a firefighter and developed a diet to help other firefighters improve their health. “Engine 2 Diet” highlights the connection between a plant-based diet and good health. To register for his presentation, please visit
  • Doug Lisle, PhD, and co-author of “The Pleasure Trap,” will speak at 7 p.m. on Oct. 3. His book looks at how people undermine their health and happiness through poor choices and how they can “rewire” themselves to make healthier decisions. To register for his presentation, please visit

“These are well-known speakers and we’re excited to bring them to our community. Doug Lisle, for example, will talk about the science behind why losing weight is so hard and give some real examples on how people can make difficult changes in their lives,” Panzer said.

Medical providers are invited to attend the conference from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. In addition to hearing from Lisle and Esselstyn, there will be other experts and authors speaking about a variety of topics including how some diseases can be avoided and treated by lifestyle changes; the impact of lifestyle medicine on health cost; identifying the role lifestyle plays in expressing chronic disease genes; and how to use the “willpower paradox” to help patients with chronic disease.

“Medical providers have knowledge about the link between lifestyle and overall health, but even providers are surprised by the power lifestyle brings to treating chronic diseases.  This conference will allow them to hear directly from authors deeply involved in these fields and come away with important information they can share with their patients,” Panzer said.

Continuing education credit is available for physicians who attend the event. For more information about the credits, physicians can contact

Medical providers can sign up at

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Those interested can follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.