By the age of 8, I knew in my heart I wanted to be a doctor – a pediatrician, to be exact. As I achieved this goal and began my practice, it was rewarding to help my young patients live their healthiest lives. I checked their growth and vaccinated them during checkups, treated ear infections and prescribed treatments for asthma attacks. As much impact as I could have on their individual needs, I realized that the people with the greatest impact on their health were their caregivers. They had the best chance to shape the development of healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Children are guided by a wide variety of stakeholders in their community ecosystem. They take their cues from the adults in the expanding world around them – initially from their parents and family members, then from teachers and coaches. As they grow older, they look up to athletes, celebrities and, in the age of social media, influencers. They model their choices, what’s fashionable, what to eat and how to act. I came to realize I could have a much greater impact on the well-being of children if I affected the lives of the adults supporting them as well. This realization lured me away from the exam room. I made it my career goal to improve the lives of people at scale thus having the greatest impact on children – the adults of tomorrow – and perpetuating a chain of healthy people.
Joining ActiveHealth as the Chief Medical Officer felt like a natural next step on my path toward this goal. Our members often talk about the ripple effect of our work together. As one member put it, “I never realized how unhealthfully I and my family were eating. They have followed my lead with eating healthier, making healthier choices and being more physically active.” This is the beginning of the creation of a new legacy of healthy choices for this family. It’s the start of generational health. This is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish – better health for the people who engage with us and for all the people they care about.
Health care has traditionally focused on the body. There is now a growing emphasis on the mind. At ActiveHealth we take this a step further, understanding that we must honor the mind, body and spirit in our work with members. Our spirit, that invisible string that pulls us and connects us to each other, is crucial to whole person health. This is at the center of everything we do at ActiveHealth and I look forward to continuing to champion this on a larger scale.
As the year comes to an end, it’s natural to look back on what we’ve accomplished and to begin to set goals for the coming year. The more I learn about our staff, and the more clients I meet, the more energized I am about being part of this team and about what we’ll accomplish together in 2023. We all share the common goal to help people create a vision of health that honors the lessons of the past while embracing a healthier future.
I wish you all a happy holiday season and the very best for a healthy new year.