Each month we will feature community members and their personal journeys to good health. Some will be looking to stay or become fit, lose weight or reduce stress. Others will have had a life-changing diagnosis such as heart disease or diabetes, which has been the push they needed to start down a healthier path. We will talk about their thoughts on a variety of topics, but most especially on how they maintain their own health and tips and suggestions for how others can do the same.
Our first Health Journey interviews are with two health care leaders, Mercy Medical Center CEO Kelly C. Morgan and Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer, a Roseburg pediatrician.
Kelly Morgan is 55 years old, married, and has one son and two granddaughters. He was raised in Coquille and graduated from Oregon State University. He also has a master’s degree in hospital and health administration from the University of Iowa. Morgan has worked in health care administration for more than 30 years and joined Mercy in 2006 as president and CEO.
Dannenhoffer is 56 years old, married, and has several kids and one grandchild. He was born in New York City and grew up in Brooklyn. He graduated from Albany Medical College in 1980 and spent five years on active duty with the Navy, serving as a pediatrician. He is currently CEO of Architrave, a joint venture between DCIPA, The Physicians of Douglas County and Mercy Medical Center, and still continues his pediatric practice.
We sat down with Dannenhoffer and Morgan to ask them a series of questions about their personal health and wellness:
Q: Was there something pivotal that pushed you to take steps to be healthier?
Morgan: I have always been active. My brothers and I played outside a lot growing up and then I played a variety of sports, including football, basketball and baseball throughout high school and college. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve migrated away from sports and now go to the gym or ride my bike.
Dannenhoffer: I went for my yearly checkup when I turned 55. My physician told me that over the 20 years I had been his patient, I had gained an average of two pounds per year, for a total of 40 pounds. He suggested I think about that and how I might make some changes. So I did. I started off with a focus on fitness, but have also changed my eating habits.
Q: What kinds of exercise do you do and how often?
Morgan: I work out at Downtown Fitness at least three times a week and do cardio and resistance training. When the weather is good, I’ll head home and ride my bike for an hour.
Dannenhoffer: I work out at the YMCA or at home, and typically do some form of exercise every day. I like to mix it up.
Q: How do you keep your exercise fresh?
Morgan: That can be tough. I’ve found working out with a trainer who both pushes and encourages me has been very helpful. But sometimes you just have to show up and do it, even if you do not feel like it.
Dannenhoffer: I do a little bit of everything at the Y. I swim, spend time on the treadmill, elliptical machine, ride the bikes and lift weights. I have also tried some of the classes, including Zumba, which was a very short class for me! I’ve worked out with a trainer, too.
Q: What kinds of healthy eating tips do you have?
Morgan: Dixie and I generally pay attention to what we eat at every meal and try to keep it healthy. We grill year-round and try to avoid fried foods.
It’s also important that you support your spouse with making healthy choices. It can be really easy to sabotage each other’s plans by offering food or questioning why someone isn’t eating something. You have to coach each other.
Dannenhoffer: Ann does most of our grocery shopping for our family, but I do the shopping for our evening meal almost every day. It’s a nice bridge between work and going home. As I’ve become more focused on making healthier food choices, I’ve started to incorporate a greater variety of fruits and vegetables into our dinner meals. I also just eat less.
I spent time in Japan, and they have a philosophy about stopping eating before you are full. They call it “hara hachi bu,” and it essentially means stop eating when you are 80 percent full.
Q: How do you fit your favorite foods into healthy living?
Morgan: We have a cheat meal every week. It is one meal where we can eat whatever we want and as much as we want. So after a week of eating carefully, we can look forward to having a cheeseburger and ice cream, if that’s what we want.
Dannenhoffer: Bread is my favorite food. I pay attention to how much of it I eat and it’s now a treat. If I have a bagel for breakfast, that’s my bread for the day.
Q: Who cooks in your family?
Morgan: We both do.
Dannenhoffer: I do most of the cooking. I really enjoy it, and sharing meals is important to our family. It’s no secret that I can be found some days daydreaming about what we are going to eat for dinner!
Q: If it could be anybody, whom would you invite to dinner or to go on a run or walk?
Morgan: Peter Ueberroth. He served as the organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles for five years and his mantra was pretty much just “make it happen.”
Dannenhoffer: President Obama and/or President Bush. Being president is one of the world’s busiest jobs and yet both of these presidents found time to focus on wellness. But, of course, we would talk about world affairs!
Q: When you’re overwhelmed with work responsibilities, how do you find a better work/life balance?
Morgan: Including time for spiritual reflection is important for me. I try to maintain balance physically, mentally and spiritually. When I’m on vacation, I try to not check my email or voice mail.
Dannenhoffer: I focus on really disconnecting and don’t fret about work.
Q: What inspires and motivates you?
Morgan: Change. No two days being the same. Exploring new opportunities.
Dannenhoffer: Seeing other people do well. I’m especially inspired seeing kids and families who have had a few tough years doing well and being successful.
Q: What book(s) are you reading?
Morgan: “Fall of the Giants” by Ken Follett.
Dannenhoffer: Nate Silver’s “The Signal and The Noise.”
Q: What’s your favorite health-related website/blog/app?
• Kathleen Nickel is communications director for Mercy Medical Center.