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September 14, 2017 - USA Health Staff Dancing For Patients’ Health

Dr. Lynn Batten, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a pediatric cardiologist with USA Physicians Group, has a plan to help her pediatric patients get excited about fitness.

During the past several months, she and her staff, along with other medical professionals throughout USA Health, have appeared on the YouTube channel Dr. Fun’s Dance Party USA. The channel is a series of videos featuring USA staff dancing along to hit pop songs. The goal is for the videos to inspire young patients to get up and move with the videos.

“For the past few years, I’ve been interested in creating dance parties for my patients as a way to inspire them to have fun while they exercise,” Dr. Batten said.

After a young patient was hospitalized while waiting for a heart transplant in Birmingham, Ala., the mother of the child emailed Dr. Batten and said their days were very long, and that her daughter could use something to make her smile.

Dr. Batten found inspiration in YouTube. “My son Lucas has been making YouTube videos for quite some time, and so I came to him with the idea of creating a channel where my patients can smile and dance with me no matter where they are,” she said.

With her son’s filming and editing expertise, Dr. Batten was able to get her staff up and moving for their first video, a dance to the pop artist Bruno Mars’ song “24K Magic,” which was the patient’s favorite song.

“The patient passed away soon after the video went up,” Dr. Batten said. “However, her mother did let me know that she in fact saw it and it made her heart shine.”

Four videos later, Dr. Batten remains committed to getting her patients excited about getting up to move. Most recently, staff from the entire first floor of the Strada Patient Care Center came together to film a  choreographed video featuring the song “Shut Up and Dance” by the pop group Walk the Moon.

“We’re thrilled to have so many colleagues, including physicians, residents, nurses and medical students who are stepping up to make patients smile and exercise with us,” Dr. Batten said. “Plus,” she laughed, “You should see some of their incredible dance moves. Have you seen Dr. Maertens’ freestyling moves? They are great.”

Dr. Batten feels that by connecting with her patients through popular music and dance, maybe she can make them more excited about incorporating exercise in their lives. “There was a young patient who would not talk to me at all about walking or any form of exercise, but when I asked him what his favorite song was, he lit up and wanted to tell me all about his dance moves,” she said.

Dr. Batten plans to continue making the videos, and hopes that other physicians will branch out to make their own videos for patients. “Other physicians’ patients do not know me and would not be interested in seeing me dance in their videos, but they would be very excited to see their doctor being silly and having a great time,” she said.

Dr. Batten takes song requests during every appointment with her young patients. She also includes the link for the YouTube channel in the patients’ paperwork when they check out. “Most of the time they find the link before they even get home,” she said. She said she remains committed to making her patients feel good about themselves, their fitness and their visit to the clinic.

To view Dr. Fun’s Dance Party USA videos, click here.

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