04 May 2012

National bike month

May is national bike month!

This is exciting to me for several reasons. First, my brother and sister-in-law, Adam and Christy, are on outreach for Bikesbelong, an organization that tries to establish safe access to biking for all Americans.

It was a natural move after they spent 2011 biking 12,000 miles through every state!


here is their tour route:


You can get involved by taking a moment to visit the People for Bikes website, which has lots of information about finding safe biking in your community, and it is easy to sign their petition to keep biking resources and routes available for all Americans:


It is also exciting because my family and I are trying to make biking a part of our lives every day. I bike as often as I can to work. (it's tough on the days when I have to wear a suit!) B. and I go mountain biking on the mountain behind Geisinger whenever we can. M. and I will use the tandem bike for some fun cross-training time together on our non-run days. G. and R. love to take a quick bike ride to the 5 and dime store in town for a candy treat! We can even handle simple errands like a stop at the grocery store on the tandem bike because we have a milk crate attached to the back with bungee cords.

It is healthy and fun for us, and by using less gas, it is good for the environment and in a teeny tiny way is helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil. So biking is even good for national security!

Since May is National Bike Month, it is a good opportunity to start to make biking a part of your life if you have been looking for an excuse.

Here are some national events:

You can search for events in your town here:


Bike Month

And the doctor in me says, HELMET!

01 May 2012

Guard soldier fired before Iraq deployment wins lawsuit

Tonight President Obama broadcast a message from Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. On the anniversary of the death of Bin Ladin, he pledged to continue the mission to destroy Al Queda. He spoke to deployed troops, recognizing their sacrifice, and urging them to hold on because there is light at the end of the tunnel, outlined in his plan to draw down from Afghanistan.


One troop who made that sacrifice was National Guard soldier Grace Campbell. She deployed to Iraq for 13 months from 2008 to 2009. Like many other Guardsmen, she informed her employer she was deploying for military service. Her employer, Catholic Community Services, chose to fire her. With the assistance of the Department of Defense and her legal team Sgt. Campbell has won a lawsuit against her former employer.

(Source: Komonews)


ATV training courses for kids

As a pediatric surgeon at Geisinger Medical Center, one of my responsibilities is the care of child trauma victims. Unfortunately, I frequently see children who have been seriously injured in ATV crashes. In one way or another, all of these injuries are preventable. I had the great opportunity to participate in an initiative to prevent ATV injuries in children when our trauma department obtained a grant to subsidize ATV safety training for children.

This spring marks the second year these classes will be provided. It is our hope they will serve as a vaccination against serious injury, and the children who complete the course will become ambassadors to spread the word about fun safe riding.

Here is a news report about the classes:


Video here:

29 April 2012

Hi! Happy Sunday. As I sit lazily on my couch (don't worry, we have our 4mi training run coming up, and it is a beautiful day in Central PA!) I took literally 20 seconds to send a message of thanks to a military family via the USO.

You can do it too! Just go to Joining Forces:


and take a moment to write a message of thanks, click submit and know that you will be making a personal contact with a family that is living and breathing protection of our great country through service and sacrifice every day.

We will also be pledging our service hours, starting with our marathon run to benefit Fisher House. I was able to search by zip code and find local events.

I found Joining Forces through my professional organization, the American College of Surgeons. As a group we will be doing our part to strive to provide enough medical resources to care for war veterans returning with amputations, traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD. There are opportunities for both people as individuals and organizations to join this national support of our military families.

You can also browse around the site to find other initiatives to help veterans. For example, just signed into law is legislation protecting veterans from being bilked of their GI Bill education benefits by fly-by-night diploma mills. I have over 15 years of higher education and still it is tough for me to discern the charlatans from the legitimate institutions of higher education! (Maybe that is more of a comment on me.) It took some research, and I eventually chose Norwich University, and was extremely pleased.


Now it's time to get the sneakers on!
The whole family and I just returned home from Roanoke after attending the Roanoke Valley Academy of Medicine Alliance Book and Author Dinner. Their group put together a stunning fundraiser for important local organizations including Ronald McDonald House, an animal welfare group, and scholarships for local youths.


The event was a marvelous affair with a a delicious dinner, a few short talks from visiting authors (including me!) and then a book signing session.

It was a bit intimidating being up on the stage with such illustrious fellow authors.

Our emcee was Andy Gross who has written thrillers with James Patterson, and has series of his independent books, the most recent of which, 15 Seconds, is a novel about a surgeon who finds himself trapped a victim of circumstances.


Next was Steve Berry, who has written a series of international novels of intrigue, many of which feature his recurring lead man, Cotton Malone. His new book is The Columbus Affair, which probes the significance of unknown details about the famous seafarer and discoverer of America for Spain.


And a true gem of the evening was Dottie Frank and her captivating stories of early experiences as a new bestselling novelist on the book tour. Her new novel Porch Lights adds to her oeuvre exploring the pace of life in the South Carolina Low Country.


During my turn to speak, I asked how many in the audience had served in the military or were veterans, as I often do when I'm invited to benefits. As usual, I was rewarded to see hands go up at every table. It makes me feel a part of a strong and noble tradition. It also makes me feel so thankful and appreciative to be part of a country with so many who have been willing to serve.

I was able to share details about Fisher House with the group and spread the news a little more about all the great work they do for injured veterans and their family.

It is a trip we will all remember with such great weather as we roamed Roanoke through the Market Square, the Transportation museum, and the Science Museum in the Tanglewood Mall. The foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains were a majestic and colorful landscape at dawn a we hurried back to Pennsylvania so B. could make it to the Prom in time!