Monday, October 23, 2006

It's Nice to Meet one of your Heroes

It's even nicer when they're nice.

When I was first considering changing my professional direction to obesity medicine I did a lot of reading.

One of the first books I came across was Dr. Walter Willett's Eat, Drink and Be Healthy. It's an evidence-based approach to examining what was healthy to eat and why.

I adored the book (it's of course linked on the side).

I read a lot, and continue to read a great deal.

It amuses me how much I look up to these men and women. The ones who do remarkable research, write elegant and intelligent journal articles. The ones who further our understanding of science and medicine.

When I see them in conferences I'm thrilled to be around them. I've even played with the idea of bringing their books and articles to be signed...but then I thought that would be too creepy.

A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Willett and you might say I had the pleasure of stalking him first.

He had a cloud of groupies like me hovering around him after a lecture. I waited and waited to speak with him, but the cloud didn't dissipate. Finally the cloud disappeared but he walked back into the lecture hall.

Following him and trying to look non-threatening, I sat down behind him. At the end of the lecture I asked him if I could have a moment of his time.

You see, Canada's Food Guide is about to be re-released and to my eyes, it is not even remotely reflective of our current best understandings of the role of diet on the prevention of chronic disease.

I've said as much in the House of Commons, but I'm not sure how loud my voice is.

I asked Dr. Willett if he would be kind enough to review the draft guide and offer his expert opinion. After all, in the world of voices on nutrition, there are not many, if any, louder than Dr. Willett's.

He agreed to do so and within 24hrs. had provided a thoughtful review of the Guide.

His conclusions I'll share with you another time (he didn't like it so much), I don't want to spoil this post with data.

This is just a thank you post.

Thanks Dr. Willett.