Well hello! It's nice to meet you here! I am happy to be crawling into this cozy web space where Nebraskans engage in important topics such as fitness, nutrition and relationships. Let me tell you who I am and what I hope to bring to this blog.
First, I hope you grab a cup of coffee (admittedly my favorite beverage of all time that will inspire a blog or two in the future), and grab three minutes for a quick brain break. I hope you laugh; OK, you're at the office, I will settle for a smile.
And I hope I give you a valuable tip or two.
Dr. Joann Schaefer is vice president of medical care and management for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. She previously served as chief medical officer and director of public health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for about eight years. She will blog monthly for livewellnebraska.com.
Seriously, I am dreaming big! I hope I leave you with at least three tips per blog for you, a family member or a friend. It is absolutely in my bones to help people live healthier lives. It always has been in my bones…almost as long as I can remember.
I think I was about 7 years old when I knew I wanted to be a doctor and help people. In second grade, I volunteered to be my classroom's “Safety Officer” (I even had a little badge). All that actually meant was that I knew where to find the first aid kit and the pink saw dust for any “bodily fluid” incidents that occurred in the classroom. Remember the pink saw dust…. or did I just date myself? I just knew I was cut out for that duty and I wore my badge with pride!
From that moment on, it was my mission to learn everything I could about the human body. But I didn't really understand what it meant to say, “I want to be a doctor.” That understanding would come later when working, volunteering and learning what it meant to “diagnose and treat” people.
Years later, as a practicing physician, I found myself as a patient and on the other side of the stethoscope because of a birth defect in my liver that I didn't even know I had. (I will talk more about that in future blog entries because it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me).
You see, almost dying a few times really inspired me to live every day to the fullest and help others do the same. I am a family doc by training and I have learned a lot from being on the patient side of the doctor-patient relationship.
I practiced in academic medicine for several years, had a wonderful opportunity to be the chief medical officer of the state of Nebraska and now I am the chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. I am a mom, a daughter, a friend, and a liver transplant recipient.
I wore the public health hat here in the state for almost 8 years...well really 11 years...OK, I never really took it off. Once public health gets under your skin, you never get rid of it because you just see possibilities everywhere to prevent illness and help people get healthier.
So that's me in a nutshell. I love people. I love to teach people about how their bodies work--because the human body is amazing!! I love to sing. I paint and I run (OK, I'm slow, but I can beat my couch every time I run. So heck yeah, I'm a runner!!)
Oh, and one last thing...I do not really claim to be an "expert" in anything...just filled with a lot of experience that I am willing to share. And I'm a life-long learner, so everything I learn — if there is a nugget worth passing along — I will do just that!