Dr. Robert Dawkins’ BIO
Robert Dawkins, PhD, MPH, is the Clinical Director and Principal of Practical Health Strategies, a business and professional service of RDawkinsPhDMPH LLC. Practical Health Strategies grew out of his twenty-five plus years of experience working with individuals and in small groups settings in full-service accredited sleep centers. He is currently the Clinical Director of the sleep center at the West Florida Hospital in Pensacola, the Child Neurology Center pediatric sleep center in Gulf Breeze, and the Sleep Disorder Center of Panama City.
Dr. Dawkins received his PhD from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, and his MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He also holds degrees from Emory University (chemistry) and the University of West Florida (biology). Dr. Dawkins has a longstanding interest in how the environment, both physical and cultural, impacts and determines health status. He is certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and was previously certified in general toxicology by the American Board of Toxicology.
He has been responsible for the clinical management of American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) accredited sleep disorders centers since 1987. For ten years, he was a site visitor for the AASM accreditation program and for five of those years he also served on the Accreditation Committee, which oversees the accreditation program and recommends standards to the AASM Board of Directors. He served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Southern Sleep Society. He has trained nine physicians for the sleep medicine board exam and has assisted four others with their preparation.
Dr. Dawkins has done consulting work in toxicology and industrial hygiene and has worked as a research scientist in the Clinical Systems Research department of a major medical device manufacturer and as a physical biologist at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory. His communication skills have been honed by his experience as a high school teacher, a college professor, and a frequent public speaker.
Dr. Dawkins is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a member of the Southern Sleep Society, the Obesity Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Public Health Association. He enjoys running, sailing, skiing (water and snow), cycling, weight training, and dining out by boat.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
1. Tell us about the inception of Practical Health Strategies?
Robert: PHS evolved from my work in clinical sleep laboratories with individuals and small groups. In the early years, the sleep center was more of a wellness center than they currently are, addressing lifestyle issues related to sleep, weight, fitness and stress. Many people even today come to the sleep lab only because of the urging of a significant other or doctor. A common response is “I don’t have a problem, she has a problem.”
I learned that people only made health related lifestyle changes when they saw the benefit for themselves and a practical plan, a plan that could be implemented into their work and family life.
If I have any gift, it’s an ability to explain scientific and technical topics in everyday terms. With PHS, I offer the programs beyond the sleep lab.
2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.
Robert: The only constant in my daily routine is to start the day about 5 a.m. with news, reviewing email, etc, followed by exercise and to end the day with reading. Between that nothing is consistent but my pace is rarely hectic.
3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?
Robert: Not the software itself but I “can’t live without” internet access, obviously. Most tasks using other applications can be delegated but I do my own typing if it’s creative work, eg writing or a “slide” presentation. I prefer Corel office tools over the Microsoft applications.
4. What are your tricks for time management?
Robert: I have always had a terrible attention problem. I learned to manage that by having a consistent time and place for things that require concentration: writing, problem solving, etc. I try to keep a “to do” list that is too long to accomplish in one day so when my concentration lags I have a different task ready to shift. Of course, the list must be prioritized so that everything that must be done that day will be done before bedtime. By the way, that is also a sleep related- recommendation.
5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?
Robert: In graduate school, my major professor insisted that I have everyone who had a related professional interest on my graduate committee. I learned that it helps for others to have a vested interest and shared in my success.
6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for for building awareness of Practical Health Strategies (what do you do for short term and long term growth)?
Robert: Most business comes from personal visibility. Several years ago, I curtailed much of my public speaking. That was a mistake and I am currently working to correct that blunder.
7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished business leader?
Robert: Pride is a trap I try to avoid.
8. How do you achieve balance in your life?
Robert: That is easy. First, I rarely miss my morning exercise and often do a second in the afternoon. I actually like exercise. Second, I love boats, power or sail. Of course, the fact that both are things that can be shared with friends and family is important. And third, reading, which is a solitary activity that adds to family and social life .
9. Your top 3 book recommendations?
Robert: I usually cover about two to four books per month but most of my reading is scientific journals. Most books I read are history or specific business or technical topics. However, I wouldn’t presume to recommend that someone else needs to read any particular one.
10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
Robert: I would rather not discuss.
11. Who has influenced your career the most?
Robert: Not a person but the most important influence was a liberal arts education. Much discussion in the media has focused on the value of education for employment, but the value of a good liberal arts education is that it prepares one for the journey of life. Jobs come and go and those that stay change beyond recognition but a broad education is the key to adapting.
12. What is your advice for someone interested in starting a business?
Robert: Know what motivates you. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal…..” (Winston Churchill)