The Second Osler Symposium - Doctoring in the 21st Century, October 20-23, 2012 in San Diego, CA

ENDORPHIN POWER COMPANY & OSLER SYMPOSIA –
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?

Endorphin Power Company volunteer programThe Endorphin Power Company (EPC) was founded in 2003 by Sam Slishman MD, an Albuquerque emergency physician who saw a need in the community… and acted.

Patients with alcohol and drug problems rolled into the ED each night, and staggered out each morning like misdirected migratory birds. They slept on gurneys for hours on end, and left with urine soaked clothes that were often shredded by vigilant paramedics the prior night. At the same time, sober patients sat in the waiting room awaiting beds. Simultaneously, the emergency department was hurting for funds.

Providing better care for Albuquerque's inebriates seemed to be a win-win-win. Why not improve their chances for sobriety… in a separate place… opening ER beds… for potentially insured/paying patients.

So began EPC. Sam mobilized family, friends, colleagues, and people who became friends & colleagues – and all became EPC’s 1st infantry division of volunteers. The Endorphin Power Company quickly grew from a cool name – and an idea to do something good – to a bona fide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in six short months. Weekly meetings were held at the hospital. Outdoor adventures took place. Work and play, EPC’s yin and yang…

The initial mission statement read: “The Endorphin Power Company is dedicated to improving the lives of people, with special focus on the substance-dependent and homeless, thus alleviating many of the challenges faced by current emergency medical systems. Additional purposes are the promotion of mental and physical health through exercise, energy consciousness and volunteerism.”

The first tangible asset was a donated blood mobile from which socks and underwear were distributed to the homeless. In 2004, while Sam et al worked closely with the city and county to create an alternative location to transport alcoholics and addicts requiring non-emergent care, EPC bought an old, dilapidated church across the street from the future Metropolitan Assessment Treatment Services (MATS). The church required divine intervention and a strong “sawzall”! It became the focal point and gathering place for the ever-increasing legion of volunteers and other souls looking for a healthy community.

EPC officially opened its doors in 2005. There were art shows, 12-step meetings, community dinners… In 2006, Ted Waterman donated 20 units, old army barracks, which would eventually become EPC’s residential and transitional-living program. With grants from McCune Foundation Pittsburgh and Santa Fe, Daniels Fund, LaFarge and several others – and the blood, sweat and tears of now hundreds of volunteers – the Waterman Power House (WPH) was constructed in 2007 and accepted its first residents in January 2008. EPC’s Four-Pillar Program was borne – Education, Exercise, Community and Service – all of which produce endorphins.

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Janice Mancuso met Sam Slishman at a CME conference she and others produced in Cozumel, Mexico in 1998. That chance meeting eventually led to Janice enlisting in the EPC army of volunteers during the building of the WPH. She fell in love with EPC’s mission and people, not to mention the rewarding work and over-the-top fun and laughter.

In 2009 Sam offered Janice the opportunity to produce the Osler Symposia by agreeing to let EPC present its inaugural conference. We knew this was a good fit; we also knew we needed to be able to explain why. EPC’s board revised the mission and added a vision statement to encompass our purpose and what we do.

Today’s Mission Statement… “The Endorphin Power Company is dedicated to improving lives and communities, with special focus on the substance-dependent and homeless, thus alleviating many of the challenges faced by emergency medical systems. Additionally, EPC is dedicated to the promotion of mental and physical health through exercise, energy consciousness and volunteerism.”

Our Vision… “The Endorphin Power Company contributes to the greater good of local and global communities by promoting the benefits of healthy-living, healthy connections, and environmental consciousness. We envision creative individuals and communities fostering health, happiness and global awareness through our four pillars of Education, Exercise, Community and Service.”

We connected the dots from healthy individuals to a healthy world… by way of EPC’s small and safe community contributing to stable and tolerant New Mexico neighborhoods to the rest of the nation and hopefully the rest of the world. We think John Donne had it right. “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” 

In 2004, Janice had the privilege of hearing Dr. Robert Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment (Los Angeles County), address a group of incoming medical students. It was a light-bulb moment. He talked about health and healthcare and doctors. “The community has to foster healthy lifestyle and behavior. Physicians and physician leaders are at the hub and thus play a large role in determining the health of neighborhoods.”

George Sheehan, MD (for whom Camp Sheehan is named at this conference) wrote, “There are many good doctors but not so many wise ones. Wisdom comes with the knowledge that the physician’s purpose is to teach the good life. This implies two things – having a concept of the good life, and understanding how to live it.”

Using EPC’s four pillars, the Osler Symposia will remind doctors about the good life and how to live it. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally healthy doctors, when fully engaged, can impact the health of individuals living in our neighborhoods like no other sector of society.

The Confucius quote at the bottom of EPC’s letterhead answers the question posed at the top of this page - “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”

For more information about the Endorphin Power Company, please visit www.EndorphinPower.org.

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