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Brandon J. Auerbach, MD, MPH
Brandon J. Auerbach, MD, MPH

SEATTLE — (Dec. 6, 2018) — Virginia Mason has partnered with the YMCA of Greater Seattle to offer patients a way to improve their health through exercise and nutrition in the YMCA's Lose to Win program.

Virginia Mason primary care providers and specialists can refer patients to the YMCA, whose care coordinators then contact the individuals directly to enroll them in the program. The Lose to Win program is one of the first electronic referral programs between a health care system and a community-based organization in the United States.

On average, Virginia Mason patients who completed the one-year program lost 30 pounds. They also continued to lose weight and felt more confident in meeting their health goals.

“Healthy eating and regular exercise are essential for overall good health,” said Brandon Auerbach, MD, MPH, a primary care physician at Virginia Mason who refers several patients each week to the YMCA weight-loss program. “The Lose to Win initiative has helped my patients address obstacles that make losing weight, and keeping it off, such a difficult challenge. My patients have especially loved the peer support, which is a part of the program.”

The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, with 40 percent of the adult population being seriously overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature deaths.

The Virginia Mason-YMCA collaboration targets the obesity epidemic by connecting patients with a program tailored to help them eat better, get and stay active, and improve well-being. The program starts with 12 weekly one-hour sessions led by a coach, with individualized support in nutrition and physical activity. In months four through 12 of the program, meetings are monthly and YMCA experts help patients with personal wellness goals.

When patients are referred to the YMCA program by Virginia Mason providers, it is up to the patient to decide whether to pay for enrollment and participate. Membership costs $79 per month for an adult, and financial assistance or discounts are readily available. The Lose to Win program is free to YMCA members.

The initial group of 35 Virginia Mason patients who participated lost an average of 30 pounds, or 14 percent of their body weight. They also increased their exercise per week by nearly 200 minutes, and reported a 40 percent increase in their confidence to meet health goals. In all, 97 percent said they would recommend the program to a friend.

“If you have been frustrated with weight loss and regain, or are not confident about where to start in order to meet your weight-loss goals, I would highly recommend the YMCA’s Lose to Win program,” Dr. Auerbach said. “The program takes a big commitment, but it could pay huge dividends for your long-term health.”

Anyone can enroll directly in the YMCA Lose to Win program. For more information, visit the YMCA of Greater Seattle online, call the YMCA team at (206) 432-8904 or email

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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