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Stanford University School of Medicine

Healthy researchers, healthy research: Policy scholars embrace running

My dad caught a bad case of the running bug. He started small, but before long, he was running marathons. Might as well run one in every state, he thought, joining the 50 & DC Marathon Group and spending several years traveling across the country for races to check off that state. When he ran out of states, he ran a marathon in Antarctica (twice!) and also decided to run the Comrades ultra-marathon, a nearly 56-mile event, also twice.

Perhaps my tone gives away the fact I think my dad is a wee bit bonkers with his running obsession. But like many things, when pursued in moderation, running is a healthy complement to a high-powered life. And it's a big thing among some here, as Kim Babiarz, PhD, a Stanford Health Policy research associate, found upon her arrival:

I remember one of my first days here at the [Center for Health Policy and Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research]. Somebody was telling me that they had a meeting... a meeting while running, and I was just like 'What?! That's amazing!'

With many runners among its ranks, Stanford Health Policy practices what it preaches, bringing healthy living off the pages of journals into the community and even farther afield. Take Laurence Baker, PhD, chair of health research and policy, who started running in seventh grade because it was "cool." Now, there is much to keep Baker running:

It's a break from work, and you get to go do something outside... The commitment helps my day have different activities and makes sure I don't sit at the desk the whole day.

It also keeps his brain sharp and is an easily portable form of exercise, Baker says: "I run whenever I travel, so I've run all over the world. I see different cities and see them in different ways."

Other featured health policy researcher/runners include Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, associate professor of medicine; Eran Bendavid, MD, assistant professor of medicine; Kate Bundorf, PhD, associate professor of health research and policy, shown in the photo above; and Alan Garber, MD, PhD, who is now the provost at Harvard University. As for Babiarz, she recently completed her first marathon.

Previously: Medical student Megan Deakins Roche runs -- and wins -- long-distance trail racesInjured? Tips on maintaining your physical and mental fitness and Study reveals initial findings on health of most extreme runners
Photo by Kris Newby

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