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Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Spencer Goodman, MBA MSF ~ Patient Advocate & Accounting Specialist, Rand Eye Institute (Deerfield Beach, FL)

(Please note: Spencer’s Biography is below his interview)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Tell us about the inception of Rand Eye Institute where you are Patient Advocate and Accounting Dept. Specialist for the past 14 years  

SG:

The Rand Eye Institute was formed back in 1978 by founder Dr. William J. Rand, who was the protégé of the late Dr. Gerard out of Baylor Texas.

I decided that I needed a fresh new start away from the city, so I called my aunt who happened to be the administrator of the organization and she told me to come on down.

At the time, I was living with my brother in Queens, NY and I thought whole heartedly that I wanted to be a lawyer and wanted the extra time to study for the LSAT away from everything and make some extra cash on the side.

Fast forward Feb. 2006, I took the LSAT, but decided against law school.

I started to work in the accounting dept. at the office working with claims and billing and really enjoyed it. I never knew how insurance worked coming from an internship/analyst role for a real estate company. It would take some time getting used to. Everyone was great. My team, sweet as sugar, taught me the ins and outs of medical billing.

I worked in the dept. for several months, when I was needed to help with patients.

I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of people from a medical standpoint or using diagnostic equipment to help the doctors further asses the patients. Luckily, I caught on very quickly.  One machine after another, I started to learn and it became second nature to me. I developed better interpersonal skills than what I already had working as a telemarketer back from 2001-2002 for MBNA.

I would like to thank my mentor Josh C. Folds (aka the social banker) for starting me on the path of developing those skills.

Those skills would become even more fine-tuned, laser focused at Rand. You need to have great communication skills when working with people, you just have to. People want to know that everything is going to be alright and we, as an organization, treat each and every patient with care, respect, dignity and honor.

Over the 14 years, I grew as a person, learning new management skills, managing  several technicians, identifying the needs and wants of the patients and doctors, respectively.

I cherish working with people, whether it is in the medical field as an advocate for the patient or client, and for the higher ups as well. I want to take this to the next level whether I stay in healthcare or pursue financial services; during the time I have been working there, I obtained my MBA and MSc in finance to get a better understanding of the business side.

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the world of patient advocacy, especially in the Ophthalmology sector and with the elder population. Share with us your a.m. to p.m. schedule, routine.

SG:

There is no typical day working in medicine. You  see different faces every day, some people are happy, some sad or angry and you need to understand each and everyone one of them, understand them and have the utmost compassion for each and every client and colleague alike.

 

BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ apps?

SG:

I like Linkedin because I like to network or facebook, even though I don’t post.  I like to catch up with frineds that have moved away or still live up north.

 

BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?

SG:

Wow, interesting question.

Hmmm, well for one, my mother always told me, when you stop learning you’re dead. So obtaining two masters degrees is a big achievement for me.  I also won an award for being with the organization for ten years. Additionally, I have developed some great relationships with people I have and currently work with.

Of course, I cannot forget about the patients. It makes me feel good that I know I am helping them. There have been numerous times that they have thanked me up and down and even requested me to help them out while being seen in the office. It feels good to know that I am making a big difference in people’s lives.

 

BSO: What are your favorite news feeds?

SG:

I really try and stay from the news, but I will catch up on current events, especially with what is going on now.

I look at the financials every day. The VIX, Dow, Nasdaq, Russell 2000 and follow futures on the app CME group, which I was told about by my prof at U of Miami,  Dr. Tie Su, CFA

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

SG:

In recent times, I have donated clothing to goodwill, donated money in my mother’s name (she passed away in 2001). My cousin, Dr. David Rand, who is not only my first cousin but a best friend, is a major influence on my life.

I strive to be better as a person, grow with Judaism. I want to be the best person I can be.

 

BSO: You have a Master’s in Finance from University of Miami. You are very passionate about the investment sector. Between your decade plus years as a healthcare professional and your finance credentials, Who has influenced your career the most and what is your future career path, in light of Covid19’s impact on your work ?

SG:

Many people have been a major influence on me.

Josh Folds, who taught me to sell, get out of my comfort zone and shyness.

Miguel Orta,Esqu. taught me while I was pursuing my MBA.

Dr. Tie Su, CFA, Dr. Indraneel Chakraborty both taught investments. I fell in love with options, derivatives, futures, etc.

Dr. Alok Kumar taught me behavioral finance. Understanding how the market moves and how people make choices in investing is very important.

There are so many others. I apologize If I am leaving anyone out. Everyone who I have come in contact with me has had some positive influence on my life.

 

BSO: What is your advice for anyone interested in a career in healthcare /patient advocacy?

SG:

Medicine is a wonderful field, whether pusuing the MD, DDS, RN, technician or any list of personnel who work in hospitals or private offices are pivotal to the frame work of the medical office.

Just to know, after the day is done, when you are laying in bed, looking up, you know that you are making an impact on someone’s life. The patient might not initially know it, but you do.

I am proud that I have been in this field for so long, It has helped me be the person I am today.

I want to thank my Aunt and Uncle, cousins and other family memebers for allowing me the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Spencer Goodman’s Biography

For 14 plus years, I have been in Florida, working in the healthcare industry.

I feel well accomplished in my role in the patient advocacy field. I have grown to admire, understand and cherish how many many healthcare professionals put their lives on the line every day to help people. 

During this time, I decided to go one step further with my education, coming from a liberal arts background.  I wanted to step up my game. Through my MBA courses, I have learned about the global perspective of business. 

We live a globalized world and it is even more important to take into effect how culture plays a role in conducting business, whether it is financial, healthcare, education, etc. From global marketing, management and all the way to human resources, I have developed a wealth of knowledge that would guide a company in times of prosperous outcomes to what we are currently experiencing. 

In my current role, I manage several technicians for a small medical practice. Leadership is always an important aspect of business. People rely on leadership skills to get through hard and good times alike. I have the fortitude, compassion and knowledge for consulting healthcare professionals all the way to financial professionals. Additionally, with my MSc in Finance, I want to take the next step in my career, using my wisdom from life, school and work and help the next company reach its goals.

Dr. Ruchi Dass, Founder of HealthCursor Consulting Group |Serial Entrepreneur|Digital Health Expert

Dr. Ruchi Dass’s Biography 

(See BSO’s  Interview with Dr. Dass 👇👇👇)

Dr. Ruchi Dass

Dr. Ruchi Dass is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of the HealthCursor Consulting Group.

She is regarded as one of the leading global innovators in the field of Digital Health. She has spearheaded development and rollout of Innovative healthcare programs across the world since 2005 using technology. Her work and recognition includes frugal innovation in healthcare, bringing innovations mainstream, maintain a continuum of care and facilitate coordinated care population health, build healthcare models that provide quality, cost-effectiveness, and timeliness of care.

Dr. Dass excels at conceptualizing innovative and relevant healthcare products and services, especially for emerging markets, and directing development through commercialization, roll‐out and on‐going product performance enhancement. Through her esteemed clients and partners, her efforts have also made to the PMNCH Forum of Healthworkers @ WHO, GSMA’s Best mHealth Awards jury in Barcelona, IPIHD Top innovators list with World Economic Forum and UN’s Millennium development goals expert committee volunteers as well.

In Addition to her work in Healthcare, Dr. Dass runs two charities named “ShantiKaustubh” and “Ananya” that are based on Girl Education and Preventive Healthcare. Her new venture Idealabslive incubates early stage companies working with technology, telemedicine and community health programs across the globe.

Dr. Dass was recognized by the Honorable President of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and Noble Laureate Dr. Aaron Ciechanover as they unveiled her book on “Innovations in Healthcare” that talked about “Frugal Innovation” in Healthcare industry in India.

Dr. Dass got voted as one of the Most Influential Women in Health IT in the world by FierceHealth and Top 10 Impactful Tech Leaders 2013 by InformationWeek. Her many innovations have received international recognition most notably by the ASHOKA, INTEROP, IPIHD (World Economic Forum), Economic Times, GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards and TED. She was also a member of the HIMMS Innovation community, Las Vegas (2012-2013)

Dr. Ruchi Dass holds a medical degree and has completed Postgraduate programs at Georgia Institute of Technology (Health Informatics), USA; Duke Fuqua School of Business (Healthcare Entrepreneurship), USA and is currenty pursuing her MBA from the London Business School.

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.

RD:

First of all, Thank you Edith for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. There is so much we can do with our lives and there are so many possibilities. We know that we have the potential but we don’t do much as we have achieved quite a lot already. When we don’t do something for a long time that is challenging, requires discipline, commitment and serious efforts we develop inside us a memory of being complacent, weak and tired. And hence, even after having made a successful business when I would think of another start-ups, the same thought would occur to me.

I decided to challenge myself. 14 years in business, I decided to go for an MBA with London Business School. It wasn’t easy to be a student again (smiles). This year, I launched Digital IdeaLabs-live for incubating and mentoring exciting health technology start-ups and am also working on Prodentine a dental health technology aggregator. Constantly challenging myself brings out the best in me, it gives me a very strong “can-do” memory as well that helps in excruciating circumstances to sail through. If you don’t have a memory like that- you can’t do it.

In my personal life, in addition to putting on some healthy weight, I have started working on my book, joined GWI (Graduate Women International) as they are doing amazing work empowering women and girls with lifelong education and adopted two lovely baby elephants from the Sheldrick wildlife trust.

 

BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self ?

RD:

Good question. I remember how making more money was important in the beginning and then growing and staying relevant. When I look back I realised that I neglected my long term goals for my short term wins. Like doing work that is not your core area of focus or interest or take up a lot on your plate etc. It is good to be disciplined and vocal about what you don’t want to take up as a project as it will not help you.

I always believed in my team and team work. Most of my team members are with me for over 10 years and I value them. However, in the pursuit of delivering best on quality I used to take up most of the work on my plate and didn’t do well on delivering through others.

And the third one is “me time”. Most of working women like me take “family time” as “me time”. Me time doesn’t mean holiday with family or friends. “Me time” is about you and your spiritual self. If you wish to stay happy which is pretty hard in a stressful work life like ours, you have to make more time for “me time”. It is important because when you live a life that you truly are, it gives you mindfulness, happiness and peace.

 

BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 

RD:

I wake up at 6.30 am in the morning and then exercise for an hour. I take light breakfast usually healthy smoothies and leave home to reach office by 8.30 am. I start my work by reading notes that I made before leaving work the previous evening and refer my calendar for the meetings scheduled.

I have lunch at 1.30 pm and I go for a stroll after that for 30 minutes. When that is not possible, I climb stairs. In Dubai, during prayer breaks, I get a chance to meditate as well which is perfect.

I leave work by 5pm and head home to cook. My husband and myself love to cook together. I spend family time by chatting, talking a bit about our extended family, my parents, his family and work. We play scrabble when there is not much to talk about.

Around 7pm, we pray and then go for a stroll. Dinner is served around 8.30pm. On weekends, dinner is 9.30pm as we welcome friends for get together or go outside to eat. I go to sleep around 10.30pm and usually read a book to bed.

 

BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?

RD:

I love to engage in some fun activities on the weekend and laying around on the beach reading a book always seems a possibility. I go for a swim in the morning and breakfast is always heavy on the weekend. We generally skip lunch for salads and small snacks and finish some household chores.

My husband and myself are not much into television except when Cricket is telecasted so we have mastered the art of doing nothing- no calls, no TV and no shopping. Whenever any of us has come back from a work related travel, we do indulge in spa or foot reflexology to relax. It may sound boring but going through old photo albums and smugmug is our favourite pastime.

 

BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture. 

RD:

My current engagements are inter-related.

With IdeaLabs Live, I wish to engage with women business owners and provide them with the mentorship and guidance that is required to succeed. IdeaLabs as a platform is open for all to apply.

However, as a member of women in business club @ LBS, I promised to work for budding women entrepreneurs and connect them to impressive women business leaders. I am working with several development and finance organisations to identify best technology innovations in the industry and provide them with opportunities to pilot and gain commercial success across the globe. I am blessed with a very intelligent and supportive class at London business school. I am learning a lot and getting to network with the best. I have some ambitious plans for 2020 but for now, I am happy to be yet again in a transformative stage.

Penelope Tiam-Fook, Founder of Tiam Wellness (formerly Embrace Organica)

(BSO’s Interview with Penelope is 👇👇👇 her bio)

Penelope Tiam-Fook’s Biography

Penelope Tiam-Fook

 

Hello, I’m Penelope Tiam-Fook. I am a Holistic Wellness Coach and Functional Lifestyle Practitioner, and the founder of Tiam Wellness, formerly known as Embrace Organica.

What led me to become a wellness coach was my struggle to get my hormones back into balance after my pregnancy, dealing with adrenal fatigue and burnout from lack of sleep, and managing a demanding career while being a new mom that required a lot of travel.

I was exhausted and stressed-out with no recovery in site. My symptoms such as blinding headaches, surviving on coffee, and being unable to lose weight to feel like myself again really took a toll on the quality of my life.

I remember feeling underappreciated for the work I accomplished at the office, guilty that someone else was raising my child while I traveled for work, and exhausted to really enjoy motherhood as I envisioned.

Then, I discovered wellness coaching, a 360 perspective of living a better life, and studied functional nutrition from the viewpoint that what you put into your body affects how your body functions.  It was during my journey of awakening to these two approaches to health and wellness that I decided to try a holistic approach to turn my symptoms around. To my surprise, it worked!

My symptoms disappeared, and I started losing that stubborn weight around my midsection and thighs. I began to feel like myself again.

I realized then that lifestyle wellness coaching was my life’s calling, and now I specialize in helping women go from being stressed out, exhausted, and unhappy with their weight to feeling like themselves again. If you’re interested in learning how I work with women to help them love their body and lives again, I would love to schedule a time to speak with you about how I can help you achieve your own wellness goals.

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Tell us about the inception of your business.

PF:

I have always been interested health and wellness.

Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. I remember my mom taking me, when I was a little girl, to visit a friend or family member who was in hospital. I remembered thinking how rewarding it would be to help someone get better to regain their independence. That dream got diverted in college when physics became my roadblock. I worked my way through undergraduate and graduate school, got married, then divorced while working in administrative healthcare-related jobs. Later, I worked for a national non-profit as an advocate and program director for moms and babies.

It wasn’t until a couple years after my daughter was born, that I found myself struggling with major burnout, traveling a lot for work, and dealing with postpartum recovery that wasn’t going so well. Thanks to following my intuition, I left the nonprofit world to become a stay at home mom for a while. It was during that time at home, caring for my daughter who had some health challenges at the time, that I became determined to find non-medicated ways to heal my body and rebalance my hormones. That one decision began  my journey as a holistic wellness coach and functional lifestyle practitioner.

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

PF:

I believe that it’s important to live what you preach at a foundational level.

In the mornings, I like to start my day with morning prayer. Some days, I may have 5 minutes to do so, but I average 15 minutes as this centers my thoughts for the day. I do either yoga or active and restorative stretching. This helps with pain management to minimize muscles spasms, particularly in my neck and shoulders. I drink a glass of warm lemon water or celery juice. If school is in session, I make my daughter breakfast, then prepare and pack her meals for school. Once she is off to school, I will eat breakfast. If I have time to workout in the morning, I’ll do that first then eat breakfast within 45 minutes of that workout. The rest of my day starts from there.

My evening routine varies depending on what’s on the schedule. I prefer to have dinner between 5 and 6 pm, but that is often not realistic in my home due to our schedules. So, we strive for 7 pm. If the weather is nice, my family and I will take a walk with our dog. Sometimes, we may watch a movie together if time permits. Often, however, we relax for at least 30 minutes before prepping for the next day.

 

BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?

PF:

Microsoft Word, Keep and Memo for notes, Google calendar and Gmail, Practice Better

 

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started your business?

PF:

Be true to your story; find your voice, and genuinely be of service to your tribe while maintaining boundaries around the rest of your life.

 

BSO: What has been your strategy for building awareness of your business?

PF:

I’ve learned that getting to know your audience and who they are is key to how you run your business.

I’ve began with local networking, then I began testing out my market using a FB page when that was a new thing to do. When live video came on the scene on FB, I began doing live video to build the know, like and trust factor with my followers. I’m a behind-the-scenes type of person, so that was a major challenge for me. Early on, I also had practice clients so that I could build confidence in my coaching and practitioner skills. In the past year or two, as I refine my niche and who I want to serve, I’ve been testing my audience on Instagram. When school starts back for my daughter, I will visit some local business groups get to know more women locally, make connections as I’d like to do some workshops, and build a word-of-mouth referral network locally. I think this will also help with my online presence as I would like to have a virtual practice as well.

 

BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?

PF:

In my personal life, that would be becoming a mom. Bringing another human being into this world…what an amazing thing to do! There is no manual. I am in awe of God’s work and the fact that He blessed me to be a parent. It’s not an easy job, but one that is very worth it.

Professionally, that may be a tough question as my career has mainly been working as part of teams. From a big picture perspective, I would say its having had the opportunity to work with a variety of moms and dads, community organizations, NICUs, and business owners who care about the health of moms and babies, to protect programs and implement awareness campaigns to help parents-to-be have healthier babies, and moms to safely make it through their pregnancies. I, myself, went into preterm labor in my third trimester and had to be on bedrest for the duration of my pregnancy. At the time, I went from what felt like 100 to 0 miles per hour, so to speak, and that sort of change has a major affect on how you live your life every day, your social life, how you contribute to your family and society.

 

BSO: What are you currently reading?

PF:

I can’t seem to read one book at a time. Haha! I am currently reading, I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott, and The Greenprint: Plant-based Diet, Best Body, Better World by Marco Borges

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

PF:

I’ve volunteered for a few different nonprofits and worked for a national nonprofit.

It was during my nonprofit career that I started a program called the NICU Holiday Donation Drive. This program was created for a few different reasons, one of them being that the staff at my office wanted a way to show that we cared about our community and were not just about raising money for the cause. We had a very good relationship with the NICU nurses and director and so I reached out to them to present my idea. Once they approved, I began working internally with staff, and board members to launch the program. We even had grandmothers making santa stockings to put the items collected into the stockings. Then on Christmas day, each family who had a baby in the NICU would be presented with a stocking, or if discharged in the month of December during the Christmas holiday. Every stocking presented was presented a surprise gift. It was our way of saying, “We see you. We empathized with what you’re going through, and we want you to know we care”. It was a small way of giving a family hope.

 

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?

PF:

My parents always encouraged and reminded my siblings and I to choose a field of work that we are truly interested in, where we could mature and excel. They encouraged us to make a difference and to ignore the naysayers.

 

BSO: What is your advice for starting a business?

PF:

Taking the leap is not for the light-hearted person.

On your journey, you will encounter failure and mistakes.

Let that be your norm, not the exception.

Let go of comparison as it is the thief of joy. When you focus on your competition or what someone else is doing, you slow yourself down and can lose the energy and passion you brought to your business.

Mind your words and what you say about yourself to yourself, as well as what you to say and how you treat others and your customers. And remember, your business will change because of the lessons learned along the way. Change can be good if you let it so don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

Dr. David Hanscom, Orthopedic Spinal Deformity Surgeon

(SCROLL 👇 for interview with BSO)

Why I’m Leaving My Spine Surgery Practice

From the day I entered medical school, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. I was planning on practicing internal medicine, but on a whim I applied for an orthopedic residency and, much to my surprise, was accepted.

I came out of my residency and fellowship in 1985 on fire, ready to solve the world’s spine problems with my surgical skills.

About six months ago, something shifted deep within me. In the three decades I’ve practiced spine surgery in the Seattle area, I’ve tried to address the whole patient. But I didn’t yet have a clear idea about all the factors that affect a person’s physical and mental health.

In fact, for the first eight years of my practice, I was part of Seattle’s movement to surgically solve low back pain with lumbar fusions. A new device had been introduced that ensured a much higher chance of a successful fusion. Our fusion rate for low back pain was nine times that of New England’s. I felt badly if I couldn’t find a reason to perform a fusion.

Then a paper came out in 1993 documenting that the success rate for fusion in the Washington Workers Compensation population was only between 15 to 25 percent. I had been under the impression that it was over 90 percent. A lumbar fusion is a major intervention with a significant short and long-term complication rate. I immediately stopped performing them.

I also plunged into a deep abyss of chronic pain that many would call a burnout. I had no idea what happened or why. I had become a top-level surgeon by embracing stress with a “bring it on” attitude. I was fearless and didn’t know what anxiety was.

What I didn’t realize was that my drive for success was fueled by my need to escape an abusive and anxiety-ridden childhood. I was a supreme master of suppressing anxiety until 1990, when I experienced a severe panic attack while driving on a bridge over Lake Washington late one night.

Although I was skilled at consciously suppressing my anxiety, my body wasn’t going to let me get away with it. Anxiety and anger create a flood of stress hormones in your body. Sustained levels of these hormones translate into over 30 possible physical symptoms. I descended into a 13-year tailspin that almost resulted in my suicide.

I can’t express in words how dark my world became. I experienced migraines, tension headaches, migratory skin rashes, severe anxiety in the form of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, burning feet, PTSD, tinnitus, pain in my neck, back and chest, insomnia, stomach issues, and intermittent itching over my scalp.

In 2002, I accidentally began my journey out of that dark hole by picking up a book that recommended writing down thoughts in a structured way.  For the first time I felt a shift and a slight decrease in my anxiety. I learned some additional treatments and six months later, I was free of pain. All of my other symptoms disappeared.

I began to share what I learned with my patients and watched many of them improve. Addressing sleep was the first step. Slowly I expanded it to add medication management, education about pain, stress management skills, physical conditioning, and an improved life outlook.

I still didn’t know what happened to me or why. Then in 2009, I heard a lecture by Dr. Howard Schubiner, who had trained with Dr. John Sarno, a physiatrist who championed the idea that emotional pain translates into physical symptoms.

Within five minutes of the beginning of Dr. Shubiner’s lecture, the pieces of my puzzle snapped into place. I realized that sustained levels of stress hormones can and will create physical symptoms. I also learned how the nervous system works by linking current circumstances with past events. If a given situation reminds you of past emotional trauma, you may experience similar symptoms that occurred around the prior event.

I felt like I had been let out of jail. I’ll never forget that moment of awareness.

What’s puzzling is that these concepts are what we learned in high school science class. When you’re threatened for any reason, your body secretes stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. You’ll then experience a flight, fight or freeze response, with an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, muscle tension and anxiety. When this chemical surge is sustained, you become ill. It’s been well documented that stress shortens your life span and is a precursor of chronic diseases.

Modern medicine is ignoring this. We are not only failing to treat chronic pain, but creating it.

Spine surgeons are throwing random treatments at symptoms without taking the time to know a patient’s whole story.  It takes just five minutes for a doctor to ask a simple question, “What’s going on in your life over the last year?” Answers may include the loss of a job, loved one, divorce, or random accident. The severity of their suffering is sometimes beyond words. But once we help them past this trauma, their physical symptoms usually resolve.

What has become more disturbing is that I see patients every week who have major spine surgery done or recommended for their normal spines. It often occurs on the first visit. Patients tell me they often feel pressured to get placed on the surgical schedule quickly. At the same time, I am watching dozens of patients with severe structural surgical problems cancel their surgery because their pain disappears using the simple measures I’ve learned.

I love my work. I enjoy my partners as we help and challenge each other. My surgical skills are the best they’ve been in 30 years. My clinic staff is superb in listening and helping patients heal. I’m also walking away from it.

I can’t keep watching patients being harmed at such a staggering pace. I have loved seeing medicine evolve over the last 40 years, but now I feel like I am attempting to pull it out of a deep hole. I never thought it would end this way. Wish me luck.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.

DH:

• I have become increasingly disturbed by this aggressiveness of the medical culture encouraging and even pushing physicians to offer treatments that have been documented to be ineffective in addition to being expensive and risky. Mainstream medicine is pretending to offer care and not delivering on the promise. I quit my surgical practice at the end of 2018 to do what I could to slow down this juggernaut of surgery.

• My main focus is on writing a book, Do You Really Need Spine Surgery? Advice from a Surgeon, that will be published this fall of 2019.

• Other efforts include:

o Creating a business structure to educate the public and providers about effectively treating chronic pain and avoid the pitfalls of surgery. The name of the corporation is, “Vertus, Inc.”

o Chairman of the Scoliosis Research Society non-operative care committee – focus is defining the structure of non-operative care and to define it prior to undergoing surgery.

o Co-creating a software program to teach the DOC (Direct your Own Care) process to patients and providers in a self-directed manner.

o Ongoing podcasts, lecturing, consulting

• My personal ongoing challenge is to become more aware of people’s need’s around me – especially close friends and colleagues. I realized that I have been moving so fast that I am often not really seeing what is right front of me. Even more importantly, I am watching my effect on others. If I am impatient or sharp, I may not see it, but if is perceived badly by others, I want to be aware of their reactions and adjust my behavior.

• I am committed to taking full responsibility for every aspect of my life. It is difficult, as it is easy for me to blame others. However, the benefits have been huge in that I am no longer pulled into a lot of controversy and spend little energy thinking about all the wrongs in my life.

• There is an increasingly disturbing trend to perform major surgery on spines that have normal age-related changes. I retired from my spine surgery practice in December of 2018 to do what I can to slow down the juggernaut of aggressive spinal surgery.

BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self?

DH:

• Don’t take anything too seriously.
• Be nice to people.
• Play – at work and home

BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 

DH:

  • I feel that “balance” is a word that creates stress, not lessens it. It implies that there is some way of creating a work-home balance that will make you a happier person. I feel the key is to get happy first and work on staying that way. That translates into a passion for what you are doing, which is rarely reflected in a “balanced” life.
  • If balance is your goal, you’ll constantly be judging yourself and your day against what should be happening to create a balance. It takes away from your day. I feel I am better diving into what I am doing with a full commitment and don’t worry about balance.
  • I retired in December of 2018 to pursue presenting viable solutions for chronic pain to the general public. My work days were usually between 12 to 16 hours a day and I loved what I did.
  • My retirement is almost as busy, and I am working on creating a structure to engage in my mission and also create a more enjoyable personal life. My day begins between 5:30 and 6:00. I work on my writing for 3-5 hours. I catch up on my “to do” list around the middle part of the day and am able to take most
    evenings off.

BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like?

DH:

  • I am trying to take one of the two days off of the internet and mobile devices. I am having some success with it. We spend time with friends, playing golf, tennis and I do work out at the gym almost daily. My favorite part of retirement is taking an afternoon nap.
  • Am deciding on what hobby to take up. I have historically enjoyed bird watching. I am taking voice lessons.

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