How do you come up with the material for “If Our Bodies Could Talk”?
From a practical perspective, I’m always thinking of topics that lend themselves to working with the video format, but overall, my aim is to cover health in an expansive way. Exploring happiness, well-being, diet, relationships, sleep, exercise, technology—the “social determinants” of health, to use a buzzphrase.
Do you have a favorite video in the series?
A lot of people tell me they love Sad Desk Lunch, but it’s hard to pick a favorite. The videos where it’s just me talking to the camera seem to get shared most.
Why do you think your novel approach to the videos is proving popular?
I think because it’s not just me saying “I’m a doctor, and that’s why you should be listening to me.” That kind of paternalistic approach isn’t working anymore in medicine. My generation wants more cooperation and open-mindedness from its physicians, to make health decisions together versus being told exactly what to do.
In one video, “Never Tell People How Old You Look,” you poke fun of your youthful appearance. Ever get tired of the Doogie Howser comparisons?
It’s definitely something I’ve heard a lot, but if you watch enough of these videos, you’ll see the joke is always on me. If one objective of these videos is to have a little fun with them, I’m never going to do that at the expense of someone I’m interviewing. Self-deprecation is an important part of comedy.
You graduated from IU in 2009. How deep are your Hoosier ties?
I grew up in Munster, and my whole family went to IU; my grandma still lives in Bloomington. I was the only one to go out of state for undergrad [Wake Forest], but I had a great time coming back for medical school in Indianapolis.
It has been suggested online that you’ll land a TV show one of these days. Where do you see your career taking you?
Right now, I want to stay focused on the video series—expanding it and getting more ambitious with the topics we’re exploring. I also want to start a podcast and keep writing articles. Maybe someday I’ll see patients again or work in public policy. There’s not a day that passes where some part of me doesn’t think about going back to clinical work. And yet I feel extremely lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I don’t want any of this to end anytime soon.