Tuesday, March 02, 2010

envisioning the future

yesterday i attended 2 sessions on advocacy presented by leaders in the field. for pediatricians, advocacy involves using your credentials/title/world-dominating power to do something good for chidren. while i have not had a lot of time to devote to this sort of work during residency, advocacy is something i feel passionate about.

the sessions inspired me to think about specific topics that i feel particularly attached to, and i came up with this list:

educating the public about true vs. false 'health' claims -- especially ones that could harm their children

implementing cheap preventative health strategies (rather than paying for complications later on)

fighting the pediatric obesity epidemic at the front lines and narrowing disparities in availability of healthy foods and exercise opportunies for kids

i may be 'just a resident' now, but in 3.3 years i will be an endocrinologist, with a whole lot more to offer in terms of expertise and credentials. in the meantime, though, i think i still have something to give! i thought about specifics on this, too, and came up with:

☑ i love to write

☑ i'm pretty vocal (not shy)

☑ i have good organizing and planning skillz

putting these together, i came up with several ideas that i think could actually turn into reality, helping kids AND maybe (bonus!) my career in the process. various advocacy fantasies for me include

applying for funding and organizing a series of easy/healthy cooking classes for our type 2 diabetes/other high risk obesity patients in endo clinic

pitching a column to the local paper about healthy meal planning and nutrition for kids. hey, you never know!

organizing a service to help match kids up with opportunities for active play, such as in sports or at kid-friendly workout facilities

and more!

while obviously i don't have time for all of these commitments in my life just yet, it was heartening to think about doing things like this with my work life in the future. of course, i do want to be a clinician, but having part of my career be more on the advocacy/organizational side i think would be wonderful and so rewarding.

you know, it seems like i'm always stressed out about something. once i finish with Project A, i move on to worrying about B. and i would bet the same is true for many of you reading this!

right now the #1 deadline looming is my senior talk. yes, in 14 days i will be addressing a group of residents and attendings on a topic of my choice, which in my case is going to be growth hormone. while i've done a little bit of the research, my talk is essentially 0% complete. um, yikes?

however, i'm not new to this sort of pressure of looming BIG projects. while i wasn't able to tackle this during my night float/hem-onc time, i now have the energy to devote to making this presentation a decent one. and all i need is a plan:

day by day, piece by piece . . .

unfortunately, i'm already behind! but not much. i feel so much better now that the project is a series of 16 steps rather than one mammoth THING. it just seems like less of a big deal (and really -- really -- it isn't. i can barely remember most of the talks of years past that i have attended!).

OXO freebies!
i love OXO -- their vegetable peeler truly revolutionized dinner prep in my opinion! and obviously, i heart stationery and office supplies. so i was extremely pleased to receive a few samples of the brand's new office line.

ergonomic hole punch, pushpin holder, cute rubbery pushpins, and 2 business card folios

these gadgets look useful! but not to me. i have no bulletin board, nor holes to punch in my life. i already have a business card holder (i keep 'em with my prescriptions). and i don't like clutter buildup, even if it is free (and cute!).

so, who wants them? this isn't a contest; rather, the first person who sends me their address will get them so just let me know!



workout: 40 minutes elliptical, levels 9-12. i think i'm still a little sick - my endurance was sub-par

for josh by josh: while i was busy learning about advocacy, josh was in charge of his own dinner. such a role reversal from last month when he was on nights!

he conjured up a combo of sweet potatoes, onions, eggs, cheese and salsa for a MAN'S leftovers dinner (served with a side of pickled okra -- yes, i taught him a few things). and without any prompting from me, he even took a picture :)

for josh by josh: sweet potato hash surprise

reading: 2.5 hours of research for the aforementioned senior talk. i WILL get this done!


  1. Miranda7:18 AM

    I love those oxo tools! So great!

  2. Anonymous7:57 AM

    Hey! I'd love those office supplies. Can I email you my address or is it too late?!

  3. Anonymous8:02 AM

    love the idea of advocacy. i'm part of peer health advocates on campus and it's definitely something that's so fun and rewarding

  4. thank you all for emailing/commenting about the office supplies! i have received an email and have a recipient for the OXO toys, but don't worry -- i'll host a fun and more substantial giveaway soon.

  5. It's cool that you walked away from the talk feeling empowered to help kids lead healthy lives. Do you feel like you usually get a good response when you counsel parents or does it really depend on the parent?

  6. That is EXACTLY the sort of thing Eric cooks for dinner when left to his own devices-- throw together a bunch of random stuff, add eggs & hot sauce, and serve. The variation is: throw together a bunch of random stuff, add pasta, and serve. Either that or he eats ALL of whatever snack items I have been planning to nibble on for the next four or five days.

  7. woohoo sarah - i am excited about the advocacy thing. how perfect - you would be such a perfect person to do this kind of thing..

  8. Hi Sarah--

    I know when you changed your blog name / URL you were worried that you'd lose readers...I was wondering if you think you did, or whether you feel like most people followed you to the new address?

  9. Alaina7:21 PM

    I super need a business card holder and totally love the red one. No address needed you know where I spend most of my time. ;)

  10. wow. that dinner looks disgusting.

  11. Anonymous10:35 PM

    your passion for tackling kids obesity..check out:


  12. martinidad: that was a li'l harsh. i am sure josh's food styling skills will improve with experience :)

    anon: interesting article! i think it illustrates even more how important it is to change habits when kids are still very young (toddlers), BEFORE there is a lot of weight to lose. that way the goal can just be keeping weight gain to a normal level in keeping with height growth -- much easier to do with small changes than weight loss.

  13. SEC: no, haven't lost readers. in fact hits are up a little probably because 'theshubox' is easier to remember than 'lostandallalone.blogspot'. however, subscribers on google reader still haven't gotten up to my original # -- likely because while i didn't anticipate this, the 'ghost world' feed still works, so i have half on that and half on the new one!

  14. chelsea: REALLY depends on the parent. some parents are not going to buy in no matter what i say, and essentially think it's 'normal' for kids to start big and grow up to be bigger. others will really listen and make changes. while the latter is sadly a minority (i think), it's still worth it to try in every case!

  15. Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.. Juliana