First-time experiences often launch great enterprises

Open doorWhen was the last time you tried something for the first time? The most recent experience when you stuck out your neck, tested your personal or professional courage or challenged yourself to an “extreme” goal?

The Greek statesman Demosthenes once said,“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” We think first-time experiences are such beginnings, too, and this issue is packed with them. DMU’s new president, Angela Walker Franklin,Ph.D., is in her inaugural role as a university chief, a position for which she’s been preparing for the past decade. We note the passing of past president Leonard Azneer,Ph.D., whose tenure marked several firsts (as well as some controversies) for the University, including creation of the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and the College of Health Sciences.

We accompany alumni on such adventures as staffing the U.S. Ski Team, which included the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and an expedition to the North Pole, which featured some burly Russian swimmers, vodka and one ugly – albeit functional –helicopter. And you’ll meet an alumnus whose first global health service trip, which he undertook with some reluctance, convinced him that such efforts indeed make a difference.

This spring also introduces a new DMU Alumni Association board of directors and three new college alumni councils, a structure designed to expand opportunities for alumni. If you’re a DMU graduate, this means you. Get the skinny in the DMU moves to give alumni a greater voice article.

Speaking of skinny, Americans increasingly are not. In fact, more and more of us are obese – 26.6 percent of U.S. adults, according to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index. The index of numerous key factors that drive well-being, based on surveys of at least 1,000 U.S. adults conducted every day, nearly 350 days a year, gives us a fascinating and sometimes frightening look at ourselves. Check it out at The index, like United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings®, is intended to provide measurements and insights that public and private sector leaders can use to develop and implement strategies that improve individual and community health, increase productivity and lower health care costs.

Using these sorts of data to inform policies and programs is sorely needed in our health care system, says Mary Mincer Hansen, Ph.D., R.N., director of DMU’s public health program. She serves on an Institute of Medicine committee that recently issued a report describing our nation’s failure to cohesively collect and analyze health information. That failure means we don’t know what steps to take to “build a healthier population, environment and economy,” she adds. Read more of her views in Let’s stop driving in the dark health-wise.

Finally, if you’re planning to enhance your own health by ramping up your running routine, tap into the expertise of DMU physical therapist Shane McClinton, D.P.T.’07, M.S.P.T.’01, in Ready, set, run. You’ll find advice on avoiding and managing running injuries and learn about upcoming opportunities to become a smarter athlete. And if you haven’t tried running or are thinking about challenging yourself to run a distance race, that would be an excellent thing to try for the first time.

To our health!

Barb Boose's Signature

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