Message from the President

Love Those Genes
by Loren Hamel, MD - President & CEO, Lakeland Health | Dec 06, 2017    Share

Six pounds three ounces. My wife Ann and I sat staring into her beautiful face, hoping to make eye contact.

Her arrival last week was a bit of a surprise. She was nearly a month early. But she looked perfect.

She is the first child of our daughter-in-law Kim and son Philip. They already seemed relaxed, informed, and tending to her every need. We knew they would be great parents.

She is our eighth grandchild. If you are fortunate enough to have grandchildren, you know that each one feels like a brand-new blessing.

Her name is Lavinia. And Lavinia got plenty of loving.

Before our new granddaughter made the trip home with her parents I learned something new. It was reported in an article published recently in the journal Development and Psychopathology. It was based on research in the field of epigenetics. If that term is new to you it relates to how one’s life experiences can alter how one’s genes are expressed, and how those changes can then be passed on to offspring. Making it personal, it’s the study of how you inherit more than your parents’ and grandparents’ chromosomes. You inherit their very life experiences as well. Good and not so good.

So where am I going with this?

The research out of the University of British Columbia showed that loving on your baby improves the expression of those new little genes. And that improvement, at five distinct genetic sites, was measurable years later.

Who knew? Holding your grandbaby not only puts a smile on your face, but it helps make her and her children and grandchildren healthier.

It seems to me that this is one more bit of scientific proof for something that we in health care should have known all along. And something that we at Lakeland try to live every day with everyone we serve. You really can’t separate good health and good health care from love. You don’t get one without the other.

And just in case you were wondering, I asked Kim the same question I ask everyone else after an encounter with the Lakeland team: “How was your experience?”

Here’s what she had to say: “They were so good! I’ve never had that level of care in my life. I was not just pleased. I was shocked. And they were also so good to Phil.”

To the physicians and team members at the BirthPlace in Niles, thank you for loving on my children and my newest grandbaby.


If you would like to read more of Message from the President, click here.

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