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Dome - Letters

Dome January 2013


Date: January 4, 2013

Readers Respond to “A Call to Heal Thyself” in October Issue

It’s excellent that Dome is addressing the importance of physical activity and wellness among the Hopkins community. Another group dedicated to promoting personal health and fitness on campus is the Hopkins Marathon Team (HMT).

Our mission is “to provide an environment in which both novice and seasoned runners may thrive and achieve personal goals related to long-distance running.” HMT is made up of runners drawn together from all Johns Hopkins schools, and a recognized student group at the schools of nursing, medicine and public health. We also publish a weekly newsletter. 

—Erik Orberg, M.D.

Ph.D. candidate in the Immunology Training Program

The behavior pattern for overweight health care workers to avoid discussing healthy weight is well described in studies, and I am impressed that you forthrightly raise the issue as a public health concern. The Patient Promise movement will definitely increase awareness of unhealthy weight and habits of health care workers. But you left out factors in the health care work environment that may inhibit employees from adhering to healthy habits, such as being physically active, eating nutritionally balanced meals and getting ample sleep.

During their long, demanding work day, physicians and nurses may be lucky just to get a meal near a reasonable time. And how can they get enough sleep on 12- or 14-hour shifts when they have to come right back to work? The linkages of work stresses and obesity are well documented.

Johns Hopkins can serve as a model in improving the work environment by initiating such programs as paid exercise time, offering eight-hour shifts, negotiating for lower health insurance premiums for employees to stay fit and integrating weight management into the health education curriculum.

—Byung Ran Baird, R.N.

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at INOVA Fairfax Hospital