Lulu 2023

It is not an immediate emergency like a vehicle crash or a 5 alarm fire, but it is building up steam.

The United States faces a growing shortage of physicians, both family practice and specialists.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 51,000 to 139,000 doctors by 2033, a mere 9 years away, and up significantly from the last time the Association made a projection. The expanding shortage stems in part from the combination of growing numbers of aging Baby Boomers and retiring physicians.

Factor in that treating 85-year-olds generally requires more time, effort, and expertise than treating 25-year-olds, and it is apparent that medical care is likely to get more difficult to find for all of us, health care insurance notwithstanding.

Enter the proposed Methodist University Cape Fear Valley Health School of Medicine, a joint effort of the 2 local institutions.

Already on board are a Dean, a Director of Admissions, and other academic personnel. Construction of the School of Medicine campus is expected to begin later this year, with the first class matriculating in 2026.

The hope and anticipation is that the College of Medicine will train physicians, many of whom will live and practice medicine in Cumberland County and throughout southeast North Carolina, just as the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has done for its region.

Full disclosure: I serve on the Methodist University Board of Trustees and am thrilled by what this new School of Medicine can mean for all of us.

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We are nearly a month into 2024 – time to check up on our New Year’s resolutions, especially those involving our health. Did you try Dry January, and how is that going? Are you sticking to your exercise program? Eating your fruits and veggies? Sleeping well and enough?

My experience with health resolutions over the years is that the more I can incorporate them into my daily life and routine, the more likely I am to stick to them.

For me, that means fruits and veggies in the fridge at all times, a regular bedtime routine that does not involve scrolling on my phone (I sometimes cheat on this one if I wake up in the wee hours), and regular exercise outside the gym.

Fitness classes are part of my routine, but real life intrudes all too often at the same time as the classes, leaving me to my own devices. These include online yoga classes and walking Lulu several times a day, both a necessity for someone who lives in a condo with no yard and a great way to get in my steps, 7500 to 10,000, occasionally more.

Building movement into my daily life makes it far more likely that I am actually going to do it.

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And finally, a friend in Texas who holds diametrically opposed political views to mine recently emailed a fanciful opinion piece by conservative writer Allysia Finley in the Wall Street Journal.

It relates the tale of a fictional fellow aptly named Rip who went into a coma on New Year’s Eve, 2019, and woke up 4 years later to a very different world.

Rip’s astonishment upon waking seems largely focused on higher prices (bad), the Supreme Court’s banishment of Roe v. Wade and affirmative action (good), unemployment and Covid payments to individuals (bad), the advent of Keytruda and government funded tuition to private schools (good).

All I could think of is I wish I had slept through parts of the last decade just like Rip but for very different reasons.

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