The Health and Wellness Connection
By Courtney Conover – It’s not complicated, but it works.
Dr. Muzammil Ahmed’s morning routine starts at 7:00 a.m. and adequately prepares him for the day ahead.
“I do a short, ten-minute workout, have a moment of prayer and reflection, and then eat a small, healthy meal containing protein,” says Ahmed, 55, an attending urologist who graduated from University of Michigan Medical School in 1993 and has since amassed a broad range of experience in his field that spans the past 25 years.
It’s a good thing that Ahmed’s days get off to a solid start, after all, because as Chief of Medical Staff at Corewell Hospital (formerly Beaumont Wayne) he and his staff consistently aim to impact their patients’ lives in unprecedented ways. Corewell is on a mission to improve health, instill humanity, and inspire hope.
And like any assignment taken seriously, adjustments are often necessary.
In October 2022, the merged hospital system between Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, formerly known as BHSH System, became Corewell Health. Driven by a collection of values defined by five Cs—compassion, collaboration, clarity, curiosity, and courage, the hospital’s vision is remarkably straight-forward: A future where health is simple, affordable, equitable and exceptional.
“At our core, we are here to help people be well so they can live their healthiest life possible,” Corewell Health’s president and CEO Tina Freese Decker explained to the Detroit News when the merger was announced last year. “We recognize the amazing outcomes and history from Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health. Now together, known as Corewell health, we move forward unified, focused on health and wellness for all.”
Therefore, an integrated team is essential to bringing that vision to life, particularly in the aftermath of a global pandemic.
“The doctors and nurses that are here,” Ahmed begins, “A lot of us are local and were born and raised in this community, so we have a deep attachment to this place—and have come back [to practice medicine]. At least 75 percent of our medical staff live within 20 minutes of the hospital,” says Ahmed. “There’s a good community feel here, and we want to give back. We want to see people better—and healthier. We have a stake in the community.”
It is a component that plays an integral part in Corewell’s future, while also occupying a major role in the hospital’s past.
When Beaumont Wayne abruptly closed its doors during the first wave of the pandemic back in 2020, Ahmed credits the community for the hospital’s swift reopening. “It created a huge void,” he remembers. “If you had a heart attack, if you had to deliver a baby, suddenly, instead of doing it here, you’d have to drive 20 to 30 minutes down the street to Dearborn or go all the way to Royal Oak—or Trenton? It was very tough. Even Garden City was having a hard time. The pressure from the community, from the local elected officials—our mayor, John Rhaesa, our congresswoman Rashida Talib—really put pressure on the administration to open us back up.”
During Beaumont Wayne’s closure, Ahmed says that about 25% of the staff’s 1,200 people stopped working altogether due to either retirement or a need to remain home with their children, whose schooling was entirely remote. The remaining 75% were transitioned to other Beaumont locations to help out. The staff has since worked diligently to restore the hospital—and it’s been a tremendous undertaking. “In terms of staffing, we’re about 80% of where we need to be,” says Ahmed. He goes on to say that Corewell is in no way an anomaly—the shortage in staffing is a challenge that the health industry nation-wide has yet to fully recover from. “It’s the same problem that all the hospitals have right now,” he says.
And yet it’s not enough to slow Corewell’s momentum.
Says Ahmed, “Things are getting better, and hospital administration realized how important Wayne is to the local community and have really put a lot of effort in.” Ahmed says that plans are in the works for the construction of a new tower that will result in an increase in hospital capacity. A formal announcement about the project, which is slated to begin this summer, is forthcoming.
In the meantime, Corewell hosts a variety of services and amenities that are available to the community—right now—including a recently expanded Breast Care Center. The $5 million facility, which is adjacent to the main hospital, features improved technology, including three tomosynthesis mammography machines, tripling the screening capacity.
Additionally, the hospital has added a new gastrointestinal doctor for colon cancer screening. “For men and women over the age of 50, they need to get a colon cancer screening done,” Ahmed urges. “And our colonoscopies are done here as an outpatient—so, you’re in and out.”
When it comes to health and wellness, there is no time like the present. That’s particularly so because the New Year’s resolutions that many set back in January tend to have petered out by now—and there’s plenty of research to back this up.
Learning platform goskills.com conducted a survey to identify our nation’s top five New Year’s resolutions. And guess what they discovered? Three of the five were health related: exercise more, lose weight, and live life to the fullest. The quality of one’s health is a major factor in all of those goals. Furthermore, Forbes magazine revealed that nearly 80% of Americans outright admitted to abandoning their New Year’s resolutions by February every year.
So, although we claim to want better health, we tend to bury those high hopes in the dumpster a quarter of the way into the new year—even though the majority of the year still lies ahead.
But all doesn’t have to be lost by March. There’s still plenty of time to get on the good foot.
As certified holistic health counselor Golda Poretsky puts it, “Health isn’t about being ‘perfect’ with food or exercise or herbs. Health is about balancing those things with your desires. It’s about nourishing your spirit as well as your body.”
Dr. Ahmed says that one of the most valuable pieces of advice he can give our community is the importance of staying active. “People who are inactive tend to start to have a whole multitude of problems, from heart problems to muscle and joint problems, diabetes, etc.”
That doesn’t mean that we must live at the gym—far from it. Dr. Ahmed goes on to cite several studies that have shown that all it really takes is about 20 minutes of walking every day to improve circulation and bring about long-term benefits. “You don’t need to be a marathon runner,” says Ahmed, who was chosen by over 6,000 physicians as one of Southeastern Michigan’s “Top Docs” as reported in the October 2008 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. “Get on a treadmill or a stationary bike at HYPE. Just 20 minutes a day reduces cholesterol levels, stress, and a tendency to become diabetic. It’s a simple thing that makes a big difference.” He adds that if we want to get fancy about it, we can check our pulse while walking to ensure that it reaches the low 100s and make sure we break a sweat. Additionally, we would all do well by reducing our sugar intake. “Again, moderation is key here,” says Ahmed, who has also been teaching young residents at Wayne State University for the past 20 years.
Ahmed, who shares four children with his wife of 30 years, says that the greatest hope for his patients is that when he runs into them somewhere outside of the hospital that they will actually be happy to see him. He says that, for many people, urology is often synonymous with kidney stones and bad memories. “I think I speak for all doctors when I say we love to see people doing well. It justifies all the late nights and phone calls. It makes it all worth it,” he says.
And the best part about his job?
“Oh, that’s easy,” he replies. “Helping people every single day.”