Top Doctors Share Their Top Healthy Living Secrets

Sarasota Magazine's top doctors share their healthy-living secrets.

By Megan McDonald June 4, 2013

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What’s your favorite form of exercise?

Running/walking: 24 percent

Swimming: 17 percent

Cardio/weights: 14 percent

Tennis: 10 percent

Pilates/yoga: 7 percent

Other: 17 percent

None: 11 percent

“Keeping up with my three- and five-year-old boys every day counts as exercise. Just thinking about it increases my heart rate a little. See? Feel my pulse!” –Dr. Eva Berkes

Other things you do to stay healthy/reduce stress:

Spend time with family: 26 percent

Eat healthy: 31 percent

“Ride horses—I have two Missouri foxtrotting horses.” –Dr. Gary Shapiro

“My wife and I took up golfing after realizing that half of the best landscaping in Florida is out on the golf courses!” –Dr. Erik Herman

“Working on various construction projects on the house.” –Dr. David Klein

“For stress reduction, I have a golden retriever.” –Dr. Harris Silverman

What’s your favorite charity?

“Last year, as president of the Florida Orthopedic Society, I brought our annual meeting to Sarasota and raised nearly a quarter million dollars to build a playground at Laurel Park in Nokomis.”—Dr. Adam Bright (Drs. Erik Herman, David Klein and William Mehserle are also involved in this project.)

“My personal passion is HOPE Family Services in Bradenton, an organization that provides assistance, counseling, housing and more to victims of domestic violence.”—Dr. Robert Hillstrom

“I just got back from Cataractathon, a charitable mission in Panama. The group performed about 200 cataract surgeries on indigent patients.” –Dr. Jonathan Adler

What do you enjoy most about the job?

Helping people/interacting with patients 86 percent

“Meeting patients who are inventors, diplomats, scientists, artists, teachers, chefs, craftsmen and all other types of diverse occupations. It’s fun to listen to them talking about their various life experiences.”—Dr. David Klein

What’s been the hardest skill for you to master?

Patience: 18 percent

“Currently navigating through our EHR [electronic health record] program, which is touted as being one of the best. Oh please, Apple, come help us, create a user-friendly and savvy program!” –Dr. Krista Toomre

Your proudest medical achievement:

“When someone tells me I’m as good a doctor as my dad. My dad, Dr. Stephen Berkes, will always be the best, boldest and truest model of a doctor that I will ever know.” –Dr. Eva Berkes

“Soon after graduating from medical school, I diagnosed my mother with a cancerous tumor. Thanks to that early diagnostic intervention, her compliance and great medical care, she is in remission and enjoying a wonderful quality of life.” –Dr. Jesus B. Perez

Your proudest non-medical achievement:

Family: 79 percent

“Completing the Leadville 100 trail marathon, a 100-mile run that started at 10,000 feet elevation and went up to 13,000 feet and went over challenging terrain.” –Dr. Adam Bright

“The birth of all my four children—although my wife did all the work!” –Dr. Michael Finazzo

The most exciting thing about working in your field:

“The explosion of research into proteins and how they signal cells in our bodies can provide needed insight to all sorts of diseases and cancer. My brother is a lead researcher in this field, and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.” –Dr. Krista Toomre

“Some have said that the discovery of the human microbiome is similar to the discovery of the microscope in terms of the revolutionary concepts that will come from microbiome science.” –Dr. Eva Berkes

“The ovarian cancer research trial with Sarasota Memorial Hospital as the first site in the world is very exciting. Hopefully this will become a potentially life-altering vaccine for the fight against ovarian cancer.” –Dr. James Fiorica

How do you get patients to open up about embarrassing or negative issues and behaviors?

Humor: 7 percent

Listen: 21 percent

Be open/straightforward

Show compassion/empathy: 7 percent

“Trust me, as human beings we all have something to be embarrassed about, and I’m not embarrassed to share such things with patients.” –Dr. Maguerite Barnett

How have internet and email changed patient interaction?

“The big drawback is that with internet and email, patient privacy is not necessarily secure, so communication via these routes is difficult in trying not to violate patient privacy laws.” –Dr. Jon Yenari

“I often forward information from my iPhone to my patients.” –Dr. Harris Silverman

“My cell number is on my business card. My patients can call or text me at any time. I have over 29,000 emails on my Gmail account, so I am a bit behind.” –Dr. Steven Mamus

Would you advise your child to become a doctor?

Yes: 64 percent

“Yes absolutely! It is a great profession for the right person and with the right motivation.” –Dr. Ashvin Patel

“No. Greater obstacles towards quality care imparted by misguided government mandates.” –Dr. William Mehserle

“I left it up to them. They knew the pros and cons and both decided not to go into medicine.” Dr. Alan Treiman

How much do you think about cost when treating a patient?

Always: 39 percent

Not at all: 7 percent

“This is an ongoing struggle for any physician treating serious conditions such as cancer.” –Dr. James Fiorica

The most important lesson you’ve learned:

“Shut up and listen.” –Dr. John Cella

“Quality of life is in the eyes of the beholder.”—Dr. James Fiorica

“Be a human being.” –Dr. James Schmidt

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