I am a medical doctor who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) (www.aapmr.org). As a physiatrist, I treat patients with serious illnesses and injuries who are in need of rehabilitation. Put simply, I help people to physically (and emotionally) heal from all kinds of medical problems.
Physiatrists and other rehabilitation professionals use the mantra “focus on function.” This important concept informs every aspect of our work. If someone is functioning without any problems, we’re not needed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many individuals. Which is why, though we’re a small specialty that is often poorly understood, we’re extremely popular with overflowing schedules and grateful patients who spread the word about the doctors who are able to provide people with prescriptions for optimal healing.
The unfortunate truth is that good health is a temporary condition. Writer Susan Sontag translated this idea beautifully when she wrote, “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” I lived Sontag’s words when I was diagnosed with cancer in my thirties.
In my role as a healer, I treat patients in a clinic; write articles, books and blogs about healing; and consult with key personnel in hospitals around the country on how they can better deliver rehabilitation care to their patients. In order to facilitate the latter goal, I founded a company called Oncology Rehab Partners (www.OncRehab.com) that helps hospitals and cancer centers develop excellent survivorship services through the implementation of the STAR Program.
I am also the Chief Editor of Books at Harvard Health Publications (www.HarvardHealthBooks.org), the consumer health branch of Harvard Medical School. As an editor, I work with my Harvard colleagues to help them translate their research and expert knowledge into consumer health books that carry the Harvard Medical School imprimatur. Our millions of readers come from nearly every country in the world. They are farmers, teachers, construction workers, engineers, and yes, even doctors. Regardless of their formal education, we approach them as intelligent people who want to know more about how they can improve their health. In short, we aim to make complicated or confusing health research understandable and relatable to everyone.
I am the director of a couple of writing and publishing workshops, including an annual Harvard CME course titled “Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Nonfiction (www.HarvardWriters.com). ; I also blog about writing and publishing on www.FreelanceMD.com.
I enjoy teaching doctors and other healthcare professionals how to write and publish. If you read the acknowledgment sections of many health books, you’ll see my name. Teaching others how to publish is extremely gratifying as I work with so many talented healers who have much to offer people. You can see the courses I direct at www.HarvardWriters.com and www.SEAK.com.
In my personal life, I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and cancer survivor. My mission in every aspect of my life is to help people function at the highest possible level in order to make this world a better place for us all. If my life and work could be summed up in one word it would be: healing.