I love answering your questions! Here are the answers to some of the most frequent <3
What's your Medical training background?
Prior to medical school, I went to UCLA for both my undergrad degree in physiology followed by completion of a masters degree (also in physiology.) I then attended LECOM (Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine) for my medical degree (D.O.) While DOs are becoming more common, we are still a minority in medicine. DOs have the same practice privileges as MDs, and our training is very similar but with a little extra focus on musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment with OMM (Osteopathic Manual Medicine.) DOs can practice in any of the same medical specialties as MDs. I chose to specialize in internal medicine and then pursue further specialization in gastroenterology (GI) ; I am in my 3rd year of medicine residency awaiting the start of fellowship in GI this summer. The training is broad, and definitely for the curious ;-) If you have any questions, of course send me an email regarding my career!
Why did you go to osteopathic school?
To be honest, I applied to ALL medical schools across the U.S. (both MD & DO) and made my ultimate school decision based on 1. where I was accepted.. to a handful of DO schools and one MD school 2. proximity to family and 3. cost. The osteopathic philosophy definitely aligned with my beliefs, so I'm incredibly happy with my final decision & path :-)
What are your ultimate career plans?
Currently, I'm 2.5/3 of the way through internal medicine residency and happily awaiting the start of gastroenterology fellowship. Aside from managing the fascinating pathology within the GI tract itself, this specialty also carries nutrition under it's umbrella. I'd love to be part of an interdisciplinary team managing nutrition-related diseases, ranging from malabsorption to obesity. I see myself with a very diverse practice with every day filled with inpatient consults, procedures, clinic, and hopefully the opportunity to teach at an academic center. I imagine that to a certain extent I will also be engaged with the use of social media and its integration into education for the general public and to be used as a support system and advocacy for medical trainees.
Where are you from?
I like to think I'm from a couple places, and they are polar opposites! I lived the first 11 years of my life in a tiny rural town in West Virginia. I then moved to Los Angeles, CA and lived there until completion of graduate school before moving to Pennsylvania for med school (and I've been here for the past 6 years.) West Coast, East Coast.. it sometimes creates an identity crisis but I do know that home is wherever my husband and dog reside <3
In as few words as possible, what are your recommendations for healthy living?
Eat mostly whole foods but consider nothing truly off limits. Move more, sit less. Sleep as much as you can. Get more sunlight, be outdoors often. Invest time and commitment to your most important relationships.
What kind of exercise do you do?
All of it. And really, I no longer consider it exercise but rather daily moving. Making a conscious effort to sit less, rather than ensuring a structured "workout" is my philosophy, and its been a crucial mindset change since starting residency. I go for a long walk with my dog every day, and whatever else I feel like doing. Some days it's a crossfit type workout (I literally google "crossfit workouts you can do at home or a regular gym") other days its HIIT (high intensity interval training) or a long easy run, or a traditional weight lifting session. Many days I'm doing some form of yoga- not so much studio classes anymore but incorporating my own flow either as a dynamic cool down or a full blown practice. There are no rules, and the health/mortality benefits of exercise are not linear based on intensity or duration; trying to work up a sweat for at least 30-ish minutes a day is what I live by.
How do I start doing yoga?
Just.. start! Don't be afraid of looking awkward and inflexible in a class. There's this presumption that everyone in a yoga class in super flexible and can do all these advanced moves and that's so far from the truth. There are people of all ages, all levels of experience showing up. Obviously start with a beginner class and feel your way through, but I feel like all-levels classes are appropriate for most. If you want to get started at home before venturing out to a studio, I HIGHLY suggest trying yogaglo.com. I've also received the recommendation from so many of you to utilize "Yoga with Adriene" on Youtube for all level classes (for free.)
Where do you grocery shop and what are your food essentials?
I'm really obnoxious and believe grocery shopping to be one of my favorite hobbies. I usually hit up 3 grocery stores per week, with the bulk purchased from Trader Joes, specialty items from Whole Foods, and produce (when my schedule aligns with hours) from a local wholesale place called Produce Junction. I'd have it no other way! Essentials: ridiculous amount/variety of fruits & veggies (both conveniently pre-packaged from Trader Joes or in big bushels from Produce Junction), legumes, fish, occasional chicken or turkey, nut butter, kombucha, almond or coconut milk, whole food protein bars (read: RxBar) and overpriced specialty cold brew coffees.