Stay Tuned!

18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Sunday, October 29, 2017

#metoo -- What's next?

It's good to see people sharing their #metoo stories of sexual harassment and abuse on social media.

While it's alarming to know that just about every woman, and many men, has a story to share, I think that going forward we need to take action.  Perpetrators need an awareness of what is and is not appropriate, and victims need to be empowered to speak up.

I've faced egregious harassment on a few occasions.  Many years ago at a cardiology fellowship training program interview, an attending physician spent the majority of the time interviewing me on the subject of my personal life, my boyfriend, if he would move with me if I matched at that program, my plans for a family, and so forth.  While I did not speak out at the interview, I contacted the program director later to inform him of what had happened.  I chose timing so that I would not face repercussions if word spread to another program that I had interviewed at that I had spoken up, and such that it would not appear that I was upset at potentially not being chosen by this program.  The program director secretary called me back, not the program director unfortunately, and let me know that this physician would be reprimanded.

More recently as a customer at a business (intentionally left vague so as not to personally identify anyone), I was seated and the owner was in and out of the room where I was sitting.  He referred to me as "honey" and "sweetie" a few times, and I ignored.  A few times he came over, stood a little too close and started rubbing my arm or shoulder for a couple seconds and then would walk off.  He returned at one point, and said, "Okay honeyboo...".  I'd had enough.  I said, "Don't call me that."  He replied, "Okay honey."  Me: "No.  Don't call me honeyboo.  Or honey.  Or sweetie. Or anything like that."  And, as I finished off the appointment, "honey" slipped out a couple times more.  I ignored it.  But I did call the next day to cancel my follow-up appointment.

The owner did put it all together and figured out that I canceled on account of his behavior.  He sent a hand-written letter to my home apologizing for his language.  I'm not entirely sure he realized that his touching me was inappropriate as well, as I had not specifically addressed that, only the condescending nicknames.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the gesture, I think he learned that this is not how you address a woman who is a customer, but I will not be coming back.

I face much more subtle gestures on a daily basis as a physician.  There are the patients who upon meeting me for the first time address me by my first name.  I'm more than comfortable with being on a first-name basis with a patient or colleague I know well.  However, for someone who meets a doctor for the first time, to use a first name is disrespectful.  If it were one of the male physicians in my group, there's no way they would have been addressed by their first name.  Also, there's still the "dear" and the "honey", and the patients who sit just a little too close.

I'm one to speak up -- fortunately my parents raised me to stand up for myself, an all too useful skill.  When addressed inappropriately by my first name, I'll smile and say, "I did work a few years to earn that doctor title," and I'll stop a patient who refers to me more than once by an inappropriate platitude.  Or I'll ask a patient to please take his hands off my portable computer table and back up.

And yes, all of the events above happened in the past week, with the obvious exception of the cardiology fellowship interview in 2002.

The impact of Harvey Weinstein's accusers and the #metoo movement has made me more aware, and more apt to speak out.  After all, it's not just me, it's all women.  For our society to change, we need to stand up for ourselves.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Big News!!!

I am starting my own cardiology practice!

I've enjoyed my time working for Lakeside, and have appreciated my cardiology colleagues that I have had the honor to work alongside.  

In my new practice, I look forward to providing a whole-person approach to cardiology.  As someone who believes in the power of us as the drivers of our own health, my vision is a practice that encourages not just conventional medicine, but also lifestyle -- plant-powered food choices and movement to keep our hearts healthy.

Not only will I be able to provide top-notch cardiac care, but there will be plenty of additional enrichment opportunities.  From nutrition seminars and individual consultations, to cooking classes and weight loss, this will be a full-service practice to help patients achieve optimal heart health.

Stay tuned..... once available, I will post my address here.  Tentative office location is on the Safari Walk strip of Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference

This year was my first visit to the International Plant-Based Nutrition Healthcare Conference in Anaheim, a massive 900+ gathering of doctors, nurses, health coaches, nutritionists and all sorts of healthcare providers assembled to learn about plant-based nutrition.

I arrived a day early to attend a seminar on how to market your plant-based medical practice, which will be very important (more on that topic soon!!).  The next two and a half days were full of lectures from various doctors, nutritionists, and even a cooking demonstration!

This is what a full lecture hall looked like on the last day of the conference:

This was from Brenda Davis RD's talk.  She gave an overview on the benefits of plant-based diets.  Since I hear all day from patients telling me how they feel they need more protein, and personal trainers who push protein on their clients, I found this slide and the discussion around it very important:
Bottom line -- higher protein intakes, greater than 20% of calories per day, particularly when from animal sources, associated with increased mortality.  That said, I would be cautious even with vegan protein supplementation.

I clicked this slide from Dr. Garth Davis's talk.  He and Dr. Kim Williams, the past president of the American College of Cardiology, gave exceptional talks.  Dr. Davis put this slide up to summarize the ways meat increases mortality:
More reason to give up meat if you want to be healthy.

I think I nabbed this slide from Dr. Davis's talk as well.  There's lots of people who are "pescevegan".  They're vegan except that they do eat fish.  (Ironically, I gave up fish at age 11 due to having fish for pets, but spent the next five years eating chickens and hamburgers and thinking nothing of it).

TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide) is found in the gut, and higher amounts are associated with increased plaque in the arteries.  Fish consumption leads to the highest levels of TMAO.  So, if one is concerned about health, here's another reason not to eat fish.

And of course, one of the coolest things about attending a course on plant-based nutrition -- the food!!!!  Everything served was vegan, plant-based, and relatively healthy, either with no oil or minimal oil, minimal salt and sugar.  I ate quite well.