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UCLA Health physicians, experts share their New Year's resolutions

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New Year's resolutions
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When it comes to staying healthy, health professionals know it all — or so we like to think.

The truth is that being physically and emotionally healthy is a work in progress for all of us, and the new year is a great time to remember— and take solace from — that fact.

As you put together your resolutions for the new year, take a look at the resolutions of some of the doctors, nurses, dietitians and other experts at UCLA Health. Whatever your area of improvement, there’s an expert who shares it.

Connecting with loved ones

Spend more quality time talking with my husband, and avoid the trap of sitting on the couch on our computers after the kids go to bed. Also, to hug and love my 12-year-old Labrador every day, since this could be our last year together. He’s always around, but he’s easy to forget with three little kids and a full-time job — Dr. Leena Nathan, obstetrician-gynecologist at UCLA Health-Westlake Village.

Be the best father I can be for my two little girls — Dr. Jaco Festekjian, professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine, whose family is expecting a third child at the end of March

Unplugging

Read more books and read less Facebook — Nancy Wayne, professor of physiology and associate vice chancellor for research at the David Geffen School of Medicine.

Make the effort to pick up the phone and call others, rather than text — Dr. Gregory Henderson, clinical instructor of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine and physician at UCLA Health Palos Verdes.

Staying active

Spread the word that exercise is medicine. It’s one of the best lifestyle modifications for optimal health and well-being, including osteoporosis prevention and management — Dr. Aurelia Nattiv, professor in departments of family medicine and orthopaedic surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine.

Take advantage of the beautiful Los Angeles weather and take my exercise routine outside (with sun-protective clothing and sunscreen, of course) — Dr. Hayley Goldbach, a resident physician in dermatology at UCLA Health.

Take walks around campus to enjoy the fresh air, and spread the word on free resources like the California Smoker’s Helpline for those who are trying to quit smoking — Linda Sarna, dean of the UCLA School of Nursing.

Improving nutrition

Prepare more meals for the week ahead of time on Sundays so I’m not stressing out at the last minute. I plan to use a new erase board on my fridge to write down meal ideas and groceries I need to buy — with a preference for produce from local farmers’ markets. I also want to try one new plant-based recipe every month — Erin Morse, chief clinical dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Eat a lower footprint diet, one that is lower in water use and carbon emissions. I already eat a low footprint, plant-based diet, but I want to continue to work even harder to lower it. I want to keep teaching others about the health and environmental benefits of plant-based diets as well! — Dana Hunnes, senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Eat more mindfully in 2017 — Dr. Edmond Hewlett, professor of restorative dentistry and associate dean for outreach and diversity at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

Learning a thing or two

Explore more culture in the city by visiting museums and seeking out music and art — Dr. Andrew Goldstein, assistant professor of molecular biology and member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Read three to four books that are not directly related to my profession. I also want to develop a new interest or hobby — Emanuel Maidenberg, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine

Spreading the word

Finish writing my book dispelling hyped-up health myths — Dr. Nina Shapiro, professor of head and neck surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

I want to spread the message to patients that, to a kidney transplant surgeon, the kidney is always pink. Your best match may be from someone of a different race or religion — Dr. Jeffrey Veale, director of the kidney transplant exchange program.

Build a support network for living kidney donors. These amazing people have made a huge difference in the health of others. The kidney exchange program and minimally-invasive surgeries have made it possible for many healthy people to facilitate a kidney transplant for even the most complex patients with end-stage renal disease — Dr. H. Albin Gritsch, surgical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program.

UCLA Health faculty’s resolutions are as diverse as the experts themselves. As we move forward into the New Year, let’s all resolve to do our part to make our community a healthier — and happier — place. 

This piece is posted on the UCLA Health blog.

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