Today I had an amazing opportunity to meet, dine and chat with Mehmet Oz, MD, known as Dr. Oz to most of us. He’s a cardiac surgeon, author and host of the popular Dr. Oz show.

Dr. Oz was in Minnesota to promote his show changing to a new time (it’s moving to 3 p.m. CST), which I guess is a better spot if you are on daytime TV. Late yesterday the team at KARE 11, our local NBC station, realized Dr. Oz would have free time in his schedule today and pulled together an intimate lunch for about 12 people from local health care companies and other folks who do business with the station. I was there for my day job as a healthcare marketer, but couldn’t turn off the “mom” part of me (or the blogger/tweeter part, for that matter). I went into the meeting hoping I might have an opportunity to talk to Dr. Oz about how he incorrectly used an EpiPen on one of his shows.

Dr. Oz spoke while we ate about his show and his philosophies on health care. I was impressed when he said, “The health care battle in America will not be solved in Washington, it will be solved in our kitchens.” He then proceeded to talk about how significant the food we eat is to the health of our bodies and the health of our nation.

He showed us a bracelet he was wearing (you can see it in the picture above) that said “Just 10.” He explained his new challenge to Americans to lose just 10 lbs to drastically improve health. His web site explains: Doing this can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk for a stroke, ward off dementia, lower your risk for uterine and breast cancer, and lower your cholesterol up to 10%. And these are only some of the benefits.

During lunch Dr. Oz asked us to share with him about health care in Minnesota and asked for ideas his show. I asked him about raising awareness and acceptance for gay youth and preventing bullying, in light of the recent string of gay youth committing suicide. He talked a bit about how difficult it was for him and his community, as he lives near the George Washington Bridge that Tyler Clementi jumped from to end his life. Dr. Oz has obviously been keeping up on the news of the students who allegedly streamed live video of Tyler because he talked about their potential sentence being raised to 10 years now instead of the initial 5 years. He didn’t commit to doing a show on the topic, but he did say he’s been engaging with people about it, primarily online through social media.

After lunch, I was able to meet Dr. Oz personally. I shared with him that I have a child with serious food allergies and I appreciated his efforts to educate the public about this topic. I referenced a show from earlier this year where he taught a woman from the audience how to use an EpiPen in case of a severe allergic reaction.

And this is when I politely asked if I could give him a bit of feedback on that episode. He said yes and encouraged me to do so, that he would much rather know than not know… So I told him he was holding the EpiPen incorrectly during his demonstration. (Actually, every food allergy mama around the country noticed, and collectively freaked out).

And then I picked up the Sharpie marker he was using to autograph books, and showed him how he held the EpiPen on TV, and the correct way to hold it, using a fist… according to our allergist.

He thanked me for showing him! And then he explained that the way he did it on TV would have probably worked for him in a real situation because he’s strong enough to give it enough force to break the skin. But admitted that for the average person, using a fist hold is probably the best way.

I thanked him and over-explained myself (as I’m apt to do) with some statement about it being important because the moment could be a matter of life or death for someone and it’s good to know the right way to do it… And then we had our picture taken together.

Being able to give him that critical piece of information about the treatment of a food allergy reaction felt great. It’s a topic I’m passionate about and try to help others with it as much as possible. You can learn more about our family’s journey with food allergies, including my helpful tips and resources here. You can also stay connected with me on facebook.

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7 Responses to “Lunch with Dr. Oz (and the EpiPen story)”

  1. Liv @ Choosing Beauty says:

    Awesome recap and opportunity! I adore him – he's been on my radio show in the past and I am especially jazzed by his frequent statements on energy medicine being a big part of the future of healthcare. I had not seen his show w/ the Epipen but am so glad you set him straight (my 2nd grader has one too). Cheers!

  2. Mandy says:

    I like that he uses some alternative medicine as well as conventional medicine. If more doctors were knowledgeable in alternative medicine there wouldn't be so many people stuck on anwhere from five to ten and more prescriptions all which in some cases don't work as well as the alternative option that also doesn't have the big side affects.
    On the Martha Stewart show, she had a guest on the show, a Dr. Weil http://www.drweil.com/ who believes in trying alternative options first, and mentioned a medical institute out west that is training doctors who do both and gives a referral list to a doctor in each area of the states. http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/alumni.html

  3. Lisa says:

    Hahaha, no one wanted to eat dessert in front of Dr. Oz. And good job setting him straight on the EpiPen. 😉

  4. EDH says:

    SO cool! I feel famous by association 🙂

    I love this: "The health care battle in America will not be solved in Washington, it will be solved in our kitchens." So, so true. I feel like teaching my child about nutrition – both in the foods we give her and by eating them ourselves – is one of the most important things we can do. Not only does it set her up for a lifetime of healthy choices, it is also the responsible thing to do in light of our country's health crisis. Dr. Oz and Jamie Oliver are totally my heroes on this front.

    I love the EpiPen story, too! Go you!

  5. Amber says:

    Now I'm all sad for the uneaten desserts. Poor, lonely desserts!

    Sounds like an awesome lunch. I'm so excited for you that you got to attend. And that you got the chance to share correct epipen technique. Go, you!

  6. AMY RECOB says:

    You are so awesome!! Way to set the Epi-pen technique straight. Sounds like an awesome lunch – your pictures are great! Dr. Oz is the best and so are you. 🙂

  7. Gina says:

    I heart Dr. Oz. And I LOVE you for calling him out on the Epi-pen. 🙂



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