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Columbia doctor named blood pressure ‘champion’

Dr. Reginald Parker
Dr. Reginald Parker

Dr. Reginald Parker has a heart for good cardiovascular health.

It’s for those reasons that his patients at Northlake Family Medical Practice in Columbia get a strong dose of reminders on each visit about the importance of a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and routine stretching.

Parker is one of 30 health care physicians and practices across the country to be named Hypertension Control Champions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency’s Million Hearts program recognizes physicians and practices for their success in helping patients control high blood pressure.

“I’m really reinforcing what they already know, but I always mention to them the importance of lifestyle modification,” Parker said of his advice to patients.

Parker points out that many avenues for maintaining good cardiac health are within a person’s control.

“A lot of people want to fix things,” he said. “You can fix things on your own if you follow the proper lifestyle. The thing that we do is lifestyle modification.”

The 2014 Hypertension Control Champions included individual practitioners and large health care systems throughout urban and rural areas. Collectively, the doctors cared for more than 3.5 million adult patients in 19 states.

To be eligible, entrants had to share verifiable high blood pressure control data and highlight successful strategies or methods used with patients. Each champion achieved hypertension control rates of 70 percent or higher.

“This year we have more champions than ever before, demonstrating that high performance is achievable and that we are on a path to better heart health across the nation,” said Sylvia Burwell of the state Department of Health and Human Services. “More and more practices are using evidence-based strategies to help patients keep blood pressure down – a strong sign that we’re making progress in preventing heart attacks and strokes.”

Parker received his doctor of medicine from Meharry Medical College in Nashville and has served as an emergency room physician in nearly 15 hospitals since 1987. He was board-certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians and is a member of Emergency Medicine Committee at Palmetto Health Baptist.

He is a member of the American Medical Association and the Columbia Medical Society and is past board member of the American Diabetes Association.

One of his most most passionate prescriptions for good health is to enjoy life.

“Have fun – healthy fun,” he said.