Dr. Stankus, who is 5’5” and 114 pounds, has sworn by a vegan diet ever since reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD, in 2006. “If you eat a whole-food plant-based diet while limiting fats, you will get all the nutrition you need and nothing you don’t,” she said. “You don’t have to count calories or think about glycemic indexes, and the idea that carbs are a bad thing is insane! Such a diet supports good health, prevents disease, and allows you to reach optimal athletic performance.”
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 34 – No 11 – November 2015
Indeed, Dr. Stankus has a lot on her plate, as she is actively involved with ACEP as chair of the medical-legal committee and as a member of the board of directors of Washington Chapter ACEP. She also serves on the ACEP Now editorial board, is a reviewer for Annals of Emergency Medicine, serves as an ACEP Councillor, and contributes to multiple task forces, among other duties. She was also featured—to her surprise—at ACEP15 last month when the opening session speaker, Mark Scharenbroich, called her to the stage to talk about her Harley Davidson Softail Slim motorcycle.
“It is a bit intimidating to be on national television with a big audience, cameras, and lights in your face while facing obstacles you never tried before. Keeping a positive focus and calm nerves is important.”
—Jennifer L’Hommedieu Stankus, MD, JD
Earning a Spot
To get on the reality TV show, Dr. Stankus created an audition video that showcased her athletic abilities while presenting an interesting story. But she is actually not the first emergency physician to compete on ANW. Noah Kaufman, MD, an attending emergency physician at Emergency Physicians of the Rockies, University of Colorado Health Systems in Fort Collins, is in his third season of the competition.
“I wanted a larger platform to motivate people to get healthier,” said Dr. Kaufman, who is 6’2” and 180 pounds. “They call me the ‘ninja doc,’ and I have inspired a ton of people to quit smoking and lose weight; it feels really good. Viewers are constantly communicating with me about their health goals and progress via social media.”
To date, the 40-year-old has made it to the Las Vegas finals twice, putting him in the top 1 percent of ninjas. Another highlight of his experience was being the first emergency physician to reduce a fellow competitor’s dislocated shoulder on primetime television.