Laura Helfman, MD, FACEP
Laura Helfman, MD, FACEP, is an emergency physician in in Chattanooga and Johnson City, Tennessee. After discovering white-water sports while in medical school, she has spent the majority of her career as a locums so she can work as a white-water river guide in the Southeast and Colorado during the spring and summer. She even guided while receiving chemotherapy for uterine cancer. She enjoys white-water guiding for both its similarities and differences from her life in the emergency department. “You never know what might come in the door or what type of procedure or situation you might encounter…,” she says. “In both instances, you are gearing up for the worst while usually experiencing the best.” And while working in the emergency department often means supporting people during their worst moments, working as a river guide lets her ride beside people who are having exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the water. “It’s nice to see happy people and push them to their limits,” she says.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 38 – No 12 – December 2019
Puneet Gupta, MD, FACEP
Puneet Gupta, MD, FACEP, is an emergency physician in Los Angeles. He was working at a Level I trauma center in Flint, Michigan, when he started contemplating living a minimalist life. He ran into some people who lived out of a van and thought, “That’s pretty cool. I think I’ll try it out.” He found the perfect van—an affordable 2008 Ford Econoline E-350—and gave away everything he had (except his rare vinyl records, of course). He spent his free time making his van livable, knowing it needed to be ready to survive cold Michigan winters. “The coolest moment was when I jerry-rigged a way to power the batteries off the van and solar panels, and then I connected the lights for the first time,” he said. “While I was an engineer in the past, I had never done anything on this scale.” Dr. Gupta doesn’t have any long-term plans for his van because, in his words, “the van is all about being in the moment and appreciating the beauty of life and little moments.” As for now, he takes his van on long road trips and spends his time “making [the van] more awesome.”
Mara Windsor, DO, FACEP
Mara Windsor, DO, FACEP, is the EM clinical site director, CME and education director, and chief wellness officer for HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Hospitals in Arizona. She founded Living in Fulfilled Enlightenment (LIFE), a wellness nonprofit. Her own wellness journey started with a very traumatic pregnancy during which she miscarried one twin and found out the other had severe health issues. When her son had to go on a feeding tube at six months old, she found herself working nonstop to subsidize her baby’s expensive medical care. She was hardly eating and sleeping and realized she was, she said, “no good to anyone else” if she didn’t focus on self-care. That led her to found LIFE, and now she provides monthly community education focused on three pillars: communication, philanthropy, and mentorship. As a facilitator for Empowering Steps Movement Therapy, she also teaches resiliency courses, mindfulness yoga, and emotional intelligence to elementary children. “I find fulfillment, purpose, and meaning in my life through this work,” Dr. Windsor explained. “This is what sustains me and keeps me well.”