PACE announces its fifth season

By Cecilia Nasmith

Now entering its fifth year, the Northumberland PACE speakers' series launches its 2019-2020 season of health and wellness talks Sept. 18.

Based on the popular TED talks, the PACE (which stands for Personalized Assessment and Change Education) program strives to share information and spark discussions around a broad range of health and wellness issues that are top-of-mind for local audiences.

The series was initiated in 2015 by IMCare internal-medicine specialist (and Northumberland Hills Hospital chief of staff) Dr. Mukesh Bhargava as a means of answering many of the questions his patients were bringing to him in a more comprehensive way. It was expanded in 2018 to involve a larger planning group of local health-care partners and patients with an interest in education and knowledge-building around health and wellness.

Along with the NHH, the Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation, Northumberland Family Health Team and Community Health Centres of Northumberland have joined Dr. Bhargava at the planning table to build and expand the series, together with patient and care-giver representatives from the hospital's Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Access to the talks was also expanded through a unique collaboration with Loyalist College students, who record most sessions for viewing at Now Richards Printing has joined the planning table to support printing costs.

The one-hour monthly sessions follow a simple format – a 30-minute talk, a 20-minute question-and-answer period with the guest speaker, and a 10-minute moderator summary. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance in order to manage room occupancy.

Sessions rotate monthly between the community-education rooms at the Community Health Centre of Northumberland in Port Hope (99 Toronto Rd,) and Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg (1000 DePalma Dr.), each beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Bhargava said the organizing team will collect topic and speaker ideas from those in attendance, and from the community at large, for future consideration – consistent with certain founding principles of the series – the presenters speak free of charge (no honourarium), sponsorships are not accepted (to avoid bias), no solicitations will be allowed, and presentations are offered as conversation starters and not as individualized medical advice.

The first 2019-2020 PACE talk will take place in Port Hope, with local resident and nurse-practitioner Karen Truter discussing the topic of memory loss and its prevention and treatment.

Looking ahead:

Oct. 16 – Taelor Dunn discusses the science and benefits of music therapy in Cobourg.

Nov. 20 – Paul Burnham looks at farm-to-table eating in Port Hope.

Dec. 18 – Dr. Daniel Ricciuto examines the issue of spreading infections (how to prevent them and how to prevent spreading them) in Cobourg.

Jan. 15 – Dr. Mark Essak tackles the issue of where we are at this point in time in relation to the issues surrounding Medical Assistance in Dying in Port Hope.

Feb. 19 – With a speaker in Cobourg to be announced, the topic is a panel discussion on integrative medicine.

March 18 – Dr. Rishi Handa offers tips for consumers to help separate fact from fiction in medical marketing in Port Hope.

April 15 – Dr. Bhargave discusses the science of habits in Cobourg.

May 20 – William Prawecki offers a care-giver's perspective on caring for loved ones at home in Port Hope.

Anyone interested is advised to register early to reserve a seat. Registration for the September session is now open at and, as a rule, registration for future sessions begins about three weeks prior to the event.

Bring your questions, your suggestions and your experiences for what is expected to be another lively season of discussions. If you have a smart phone, you are invited to bring it to participate in real-time event feedback – though audience feedback is also gathered at each session without the help of technology.