Wilton Library and Western Connecticut Health Network, (comprising Norwalk, Danbury and New Milford Hospitals), are pleased to announce a new health literacy series, “Get Well, Stay Well,” that will bring health professionals to the library to discuss a broad range of issues that are featured in today’s headlines.

The series will kick off on Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 7-8:30 p.m., with the program, “Getting to Know You: Raising Your Wellness IQ,” to be presented by James Samuel, M.D., an internist with the Norwalk Medical Group and chief of internal medicine at Norwalk Hospital, and Barbara Schmidt, MS, RDN, CDN, nutrition lifestyle program specialist at Norwalk Hospital.

Samuel, also an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Yale University’s School of Medicine, will discuss the importance of embracing healthy lifestyles to prevent and help control common health problems, such as diabetes and hypertension. He’ll also provide information that will help people make the most out of their doctors’ visits.

As a registered dietitian, Schmidt will provide tips on eating healthy. Instead of focusing on losing weight, she advises that people learn to eat healthy. “If you are eating to be healthy, the bonus is that you will lose weight,” she says. With more than 30 years of experience as a nutritionist, Schmidt is also the instructor for the hospital’s popular Transformations Weight Loss Program; her approach combines lifestyle, nutrition, behavior modification and exercise as well as cooking techniques and managing dining out.

Elaine Tai-Lauria, Wilton Library’s executive director, commented about the series, “I hope to create a forum whereby our patrons can get some context about the ‘sound bites’ that are referred to in the news, particularly because the information on some topics can be confusing. When we hear vastly conflicting viewpoints, it’s sometimes difficult to synthesize all of the information, for example, on immunizations/vaccinations, increased incidence of various diseases, substance abuse issues, etc..”

An added benefit to this series is that Wilton Library trustee Saras Nair, M.D., will be moderating the series. Nair was formerly chairman of the Pathology Department at Norwalk Hospital. “I look forward to the dialogues we will be having with our audiences and excited about bringing this level of education to our community,” she added.

Tai-Lauria noted, “With people jumping on the Internet to learn about each new health fad or warning, it is very important for us to be educated and selective about the data we receive as well as the sources of that data. Libraries play a very important role in the information paradigm because our mission is to provide reliable sources of information in response to our patrons’ questions.”

Michael Daglio, president of Norwalk Hospital remarked, “We’re pleased to be partnering with Wilton Library for the benefit of the community. As the series moves forward, we will be able to introduce more lectures and bring medical professionals in from our network. I see this series playing an important role in the health and wellness of our constituents.”

The sessions may be lectures, presentations, or panel discussions covering topics relevant to kids, adults, seniors, men, or women. The goal is to inform, educate, and provide the community with valuable, timely and reliable medical information on a wide range of health and wellness topics.

There is no charge for the “Get Well, Stay Well” series, however advance registration is recommended. Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd..

Pictured above (L-R):  Saras Nair, M.D., Wilton Library trustee and moderator for the series; Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of the library; Maura Romaine, director of Community Relations, Western Connecticut Health Network, and Michael Bellacosa, Community Engagement manager, Wilton Library.