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Back in February 2020, before the world turned upside down, Adriana Lara, a medical assistant at Sharp Rees-Stealy Downtown, approached her colleagues with an idea.
“Let’s do something fun and healthy,” she said. From that initial declaration, the “Summit Squad” hiking group was born.
“We wanted to do something positive that also helped decrease stress and promoted team building,” says Misty Jones, RN, nurse and patient care supervisor. “Our goal was to complete San Diego’s 5-Peak Challenge.”
Unfortunately, this goal was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the hiking trails closed in San Diego County, and the group stopped its weekly hikes in mid-April. Before being curtailed, the group hiked Cowles Mountain, Mission Trails, Pyles Peak and Iron Mountain. They hope to resume their hikes in 2021.
In July 2020, during a primary care department huddle, Dr. Jyotu Sandhu, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Downtown, brought up the idea of starting a running group. The idea was quickly embraced by his colleagues.
“I thought it would be a positive way to relieve stress during COVID-19,” says Dr. Sandhu. “The gyms were closed, and I didn’t want that to be an excuse not to work out. I wanted to serve as an example to others that, despite these unprecedented times, we could find positive and productive ways to care for ourselves. I figured it would also facilitate camaraderie.”
It has certainly achieved that. Several hiking group team members have joined this group, and they’ve been off and “running” nearly every weekend. During the week, members discuss their weekend plans and determine which day works for the majority of interested members.
The group takes the necessary precautions to remain safe: They meet outside, wear masks and maintain social distancing. They also avoid congested areas and refrain from using their hands to activate crosswalk buttons.
“We don’t run in a big group, but rather at our own pace,” says Jones. “We take breaks to ensure everyone stays together and no one gets lost. And we always apply sunscreen.”
The group meets every weekend at a new location. They’ve traversed through downtown, Little Italy, Seaport Village, Balboa Park, Torrey Pines, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
The Sharp Health News Team are content authors who write and produce stories about Sharp HealthCare and its hospitals, clinics, medical groups and health plan.
Adriana Lara is a medical assistant at Sharp Rees-Stealy Downtown.
Misty Jones, RN, is a nurse and patient care supervisor at Sharp Rees-Stealy Downtown
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