November 7, 2014

WebMD Health Heroes Award

Last evening, I was honored with the 2014 Health Heroes People's Choice Award from the wonderful online company WebMD. My friend and former colleague Dr. Brent Ridge introduced me and informed the audience about the Martha Stewart Center for Living. It was a festive affair, and I am truly happy that our work at the Center has been recognized in such an important way; and as part of the award, a donation of $10,000 will be made from WebMD to the Center. Below is a transcript of my speech from the event.

2014 WebMD Health Heroes

People’s Choice Award
Nov. 6, 2014

 Thank you, Brent, for your very kind remarks. I’m delighted to be here this evening with all of you, and deeply honored to be receiving this award. And so pleased if I have made a contribution to the state of our health and wellness in America.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a firm believer in being organized and prepared. That’s true when you’re cooking a meal, or planning a party, or planting a garden. And it’s certainly true when you’re planning for your future.

Unfortunately, our country and our medical system are not prepared or planning for the big demographic shift that’s underway. I’m talking about the aging of America.

Just a few weeks ago, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that life expectancy in the United States continues its upward climb. People who reach the age of 65, can look ahead to an average 19.3 more years—that’s nearly 83 years old for men and 85 and a half for women. That’s great news—as long as we’re all in good enough shape to enjoy our extra years.

By 2030, about one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. Many are not prepared. It was for this very reason that I endowed the Martha Stewart Center for Living. It is dedicated to helping people make the most of those extra years—by living longer, healthier, and more productively. At the Center, we focus not on managing disease, but on healthy living.

Our doctors and health professionals take care of people’s medical problems, but they also coordinate a range of supportive care - including disease education, caregiver support, and integrative health programs and classes—all designed to help people use their internal resources to heal and remain healthy. With coordinated care, we’ve been able to take research and the practice of geriatric medicine to a new level.

Not long ago, I also wrote a bestselling book called Living the Good, Long Life—a comprehensive guide to all the things you need to do to live healthily into your older years. I’ve traveled around the country, and the world, advocating for a healthy attitude and lifestyle. The big question for experts is exactly how long can human life can be extended? The truth is, we don’t exactly know. But I myself intend to stick around for long time. I have a lot to do!

Tonight, I want to thank our extraordinary team of health care professionals at the Center for Living. I want to thank WebMD for your outstanding work keeping us so well informed.

And I am grateful to you for this wonderful honor. Thank you!