Walking (and biking, and skiing) the talk

By Nicole Endres

As the leader of University of Minnesota Health’s brand-new Signature Health and Wellness program, Bill Conroy, ’86 M.D., is essentially his own target audience: a busy person who wants to take care of himself but has limited time to do so.

That’s why the program offers executives and other busy people convenient access to comprehensive health care — including a thorough preventive exam, appropriate laboratory tests, world-class physical fitness and nutrition assessments, and specialist eye, hearing, and skin examinations, among other evaluations determined on an individual basis — all in the course of one business day.

Depending on the outcomes of those appointments, patients can schedule follow-up care with highly skilled specialists who, as part of an academic medical center, draw on the most up-to-date knowledge about evidence-based care.

“I think a lot of these [busy] people know what preventive services they need,” Conroy says. “It’s just so hard to make it happen. We want to make it easy for them to do the right thing.”

Conroy came back to the University — he completed his medical school, internal medicine residency, and fellowship training here — last April to lead the M Health Signature Health and Wellness Program. He had been part of a similar program at another Minnesota health care system for the previous decade. He says his care philosophy has always centered on prevention.

“Prevention goes a long way,” he says. “It’s not the entire story, and it’s not to condemn people who have had the misfortune of compromised health, but I try to control any aspect of my health that I can.”

And with his own packed schedule, how does Conroy make his health a priority?

He loves cross-country skiing and biking, and he always takes the stairs to his fifth-floor clinic in the state-of-the-art Clinics and Surgery Center. He also began riding a fat tire bike so he could make the 5-mile commute to and from work on two wheels. 

“I think it’s a great way to start the day. To get the blood flowing,” he says. “I try to practice what I preach.” 

Learn more about the M Health Signature Health and Wellness Program at www.mhealth.org/signature.

Published on March 28, 2017

Photo caption: Following his own advice, Bill Conroy, M.D., builds physical activity, such as biking to work, into his daily routine. (Photo: Brady Willette)