Medina Hospital is stepping up its efforts to promote health and wellness throughout the region.


The hospital is sponsoring a new walking program at Summit Mall in Fairlawn.


Through the partnership, new mile markers have been installed throughout the mall’s concourses to let walkers track their distance.


The hospital also is providing monthly events, speakers and free health screenings to registered participants in the program.


“It just gives a great opportunity for people to start doing exercise and start recognizing that we need to change our lifestyle a little bit,” said Dr. Tom Tulisiak, president of Medina Hospital.


The new initiative is an extension of services provided by the hospital’s Wellness Institute.


Several other Cleveland Clinic-affiliated hospitals have similar programs with malls in the Cleveland area.


People who walk as little as 30 to 60 minutes daily can lose 10 pounds within a year or less, Tulisiak said.


Not only that, he said, “it decreases your stress and elevates your mood.”


“Obesity is an increasing problem in America,” he said. “But what is the easiest thing for people to do? The easiest thing for people do to is to walk.


“I always encourage my patients, ‘You can go and walk in a mall.’ This provides an organized activity. It’s a club where people can congregate. They can walk together. It’s away from traffic. It’s secure. It’s a nice, controlled environment for folks without them having to join a fitness center.”


Summit Mall already has about 300 walkers who exercise there weekly, according to spokeswoman Kate Anderson. Participation is expected to increase with the new, more organized program.


A launch party will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday for people who want to register for the free program. People also can sign up anytime beginning Wednesday at the mall’s Guest Services booth, near the center court by the Gymboree store.


Medina Hospital will provide a free T-shirt to walking club participants. Guests also can receive complimentary breakfast and coffee.


Walking can be done any time the mall is open. The doors open for walkers at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and remain open until the stores close at 9 p.m. Sunday hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Top-ranked ERs


Several hospitals in the Akron-Canton area recently were named “Top Hospitals for Emergency Medicine” by HealthGrades.


The firm, based in Denver, provides information and rankings to consumers about hospitals and physicians.


These area hospitals were among 263 hospitals ranked in the top 5 percent nationwide for emergency medical care: Akron General Medical Center, Alliance Community Hospital, Aultman Hospital, Mercy Medical Center and Wooster Community Hospital.


The report analyzed data for Medicare patients treated from 2008 to 2010 for bowel obstruction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetic acidosis and coma, gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack, heart failure, pancreatitis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke.


Cheryl Powell can be reached at 330-996-3902 or chpowell@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Powell on Twitter at twitter.com/abjcherylpowell.