Get to know Dr. Lisa

Why did you become a physician?

I became a doctor because it was a career in which I could use my natural talents. Empathy is one of my gifts and I can relate to people from nearly all walks of life and backgrounds. My interests and abilities in science coupled with innate compassion and love for people led me to medicine.

What drives you now?

Most of what I see in medicine is preventable illness. In many ways I believe society has become hopeless about people’s willingness and ability to make lifestyle modifications that lead to better overall health. I still believe these changes are possible but they must be tailored to the individual and a person’s life circumstances and outlook. Escalating healthcare costs and lack of sustainable discussion about disease prevention and health promotion drive me to use my skills to influence these areas. I want to keep people out of the office and out of the hospital for chronic disease conditions and instead help them understand how to use health information and engage in stresss reduction and health promotion. I also want to explore the use of technology to improve health outcomes among the poor and underserved.

I want to better understand reasons people engage in detrimental health behaviors and use this information to create individual and community-based interventions that demonstrate how a healthy, balanced life is attainable.  I am also driven by the need to use this information to ultimately influence local and national public health policy.

What are two of your proudest accomplishments?

1. Starting Promoting Practical Health, Inc. and initiating plans to launch its associated wellness program the Community Wellness Collective. The Collective is located in Southeast Washington, DC, the District’s area with the highest rates of chronic and preventable diseases.

Throughout my experiences across the world, I have learned alot about both wellness and illness but for many years have felt a need to reach people and share my talents on a more personal level. In 2005 after serving on a scientific panel for community members a middle-age man walked up to me and asked, “How does someone like me access someone like you on a regular basis?” I have never forgotten this interaction and at that moment realized my life journey would one day include establishing a mechanism to share my gift of straight talk and plain language with the public. I am doing so through PPH, Inc. After so many years of thinking about it, I am proud I am taking the leap.

2. Leading/Conducting a multi-disciplinary public health investigation among prisoners to understand why and how HIV transmission was occurring in prison. The team included medical, social and laboratory scientists, state health officials, community key informants. The investigation led to CDC’s first direct recommendations to a state about HIV transmission in prisons. The experience also showed me how critical it is to provide health resources for the incarcerated, particularly since many will eventually return to the community.

Do you have hobbies?

Yes! Many! Cycling, tennis, dining… I am a foodie, reading books, traveling, photography, yoga and meditation.

Name three things people might be surprised to know about you.

1. I am a snowboarder. I learned to shred during my infectious diseases fellowship while living in Colorado. I love the mountains.

2. Had I not chosen medicine, I would have become a wilderness instructor. I love being outdoors. Nature centers me and helps me keep things in perspective. It also reminds me of the importance of simplicity- in all things.

3. I sing alto. I grew up singing in a church choir and my favorite way to sing is as back up to my sister Angie’s beautiful soprano voice.