Thank you Northeastern University for sharing the Healthcore story!
When several of Wendy Price's family members and friends were diagnosed with cancer, she knew something had to change. The punishing treatments drastically changed their quality of life, and Price, then working in an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice, sought out therapeutic services specific to cancer patients and survivors. She found few organizations -if any- that offered such a thing.
So, she started her own.
Price was determined that Healthcore Lifestyle Medicine, the comprehensive women's health and wellbeing practice she founded, would be holistic. She would care for the whole patient, and build a community for people sharing similar health challenges.
"It was really the patients; their needs drove everything I did, and the services I provided," says Price, who was recognized with a 2022 Innovator Award, a competition hosted by Northeastern University's Women Who Empower.
"Wendy is a true innovator and community builder," says Betsy Ludwig, executive director of women's entrepreneurship at Northeastern, and a member of the Women Who Empower team.
"The Women Who Empower Innovator Awards seek to build a community of like-minded women who are at similar stages of their innovation journey. We all know that life experiences can feel isolating at times, whether you are building a company or suffering from cancer," she says. "There is great power in the collective where women can share stories, best practices, and inspire each other."
Price is a Triple Husky, having earned three degrees at Northeastern. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in physical therapy in 1994,her master's degree in the same subject in 2000, and returned for a doctorate in the field in 2014.
The funding associated with the award will help Price start a health coaching group for women who've survived ovarian cancer, the first meeting of which she held in September. It was an apt choice: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the U.S.
Price's focus on holistic therapy and group healing comes from experience. During her years as a physical therapist in an outpatient practice, she says she grew frustrated with what felt like a "revolving door" treatment. She and her colleagues would treat a patient's symptom or injury-rehabilitating after a knee replacement, for example- but had limited influence to treat the rest of that person's life.
"In those cases, it's just as important to heal a person's lifestyle as it is to heal their knee," Price says.
Add to that the isolating effects of COVID-19, and Price saw that women particularly those dealing with cancer needed more than strict physical therapy alone. They needed a community of care.
In the first version of Healthcare, which Price founded in the late 2000s after witnessing her family members' and friends' lives upended by cancer, she offered physical therapy, exercise, mind-body stress-reduction classes, and nutrition programs.
It was a great success and Price's patients reported feeling healthier, more energetic, and more like themselves again. Often, she says, they would linger after classes or treatments, sipping tea and connecting with one another.
Price's pioneering work drew the attention of clinicians at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, who recruited her to help start anew women's health physical therapy program both for the hospital's general population and its oncology patients.
But the image of her patients laughing and bonding over tea never left her, and Price soon realized that this connection was just as important as the exercises, nutrition, and physical therapy.
So, in 2020, Healthcore 2.0 was born, featuring a new mobile health platform that patients can access on their smartphones or computers, weekly health coaching, and a host of support groups.
"As a physical therapist, you feel like you can't treat just the symptom, you have to look at the whole picture of someone's life," Price says. "I love group classes and health coaching because I feel like we learn so much from one another-and that connection is so important."