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Wanda K. Jones

Office on Women's Health

Have you ever wondered where information about how to stay healthy comes from? Who is in charge of getting health information out there? And how did she get a cool job like that? Well, our first guest for "In the Spotlight" is someone whose job is to spread the word on how girls and women can stay healthy. She has great tips too.

Hometown

Oxford, Pennsylvania

Profession

Director of the Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Why did you choose your profession?

The profession chose me. Various opportunities came up at various stages in my life. Interacting with different groups of people lead to other opportunities. I was willing to take the risk when those opportunities came up.

What are some advantages to your job?

Directing an office with a budget, working with wonderful staff, meeting lots of people, and educating the public about their health.

What are some disadvantages?

The business of government and public health is a political event. The challenge of balancing current views with the science…science doesn’t always give you the answer you want.

Who is/was your role model? Why?

Many, both men and women, old and young…but if I had to name one, my grandmother. She was always open to different possibilities and willing to try new and different things.

Name one challenge you faced when you were young?

The early death of my father…he was my mentor, as well as my father. I was angry with him and his death and it took about 10 years to get over it.

Favorite food:

Tie between chocolate and ice cream

Hobby:

Horseback riding, beading, jewelry making, and gardening

How do you stay healthy: mind, body, and spirit?

I go horseback riding, almost everyday, I take my dog for a walk, and I try to walk everywhere I can. Most of the time, I get 10,000 steps a day and on some days, I get 20,000. I also try to eat healthy but I don’t get bent out of shape if I’ve overeaten one day. There is no such thing as a "bad food." Mentally, I love to laugh…I love humor. I consider myself a spiritual person in that I appreciate many faiths. I appreciate nature, such as the beautiful sunrise and sunset. I also love human stories.

What advice would you give to young girls today?

Listen to your parent(s) because they have lots to share.

What is one health issue that you feel is important to teen girls today?

Having respect for your body. Everything from how you treat your body, how you care for it, how you work for it, not poisoning it…all come from having respect for your body. You have the power and the control.

If you knew what you know now, what would you do differently to improve your health?

Be more involved in physical activities. Women were discouraged from pursuing physical activities when I was young. It was considered frivolous distractions.

What are some advantages to your job?

As a doctor, I learn something beautiful about a person everyday.

What are some disadvantages?

Sometimes, you can’t stop the pain...and you fail.

Who is/was your role model? Why?

My mom. The power of her love could move mountains, literally.

Name one challenge you faced when you were young?

Poor health. I was a very sick kid due to malnutrition and bad medical treatment -- but I got better. I finally got good medical treatment.

Favorite food:

Grilled cheese! And black beans and rice. I can eat them forever.

Hobby:

Sewing, knitting, and to ski down hill, and I love animals.

How do you stay healthy: mind, body, and spirit?

Spiritually, I rely on faith. I also focus on family and eat healthy. Physically, I’m never lazy; I always walk whenever I can by parking far away and taking the stairs when I can.

What advice would you give to young girls today?

Believe in yourself and don’t allow others to take away your independence. Look for things to be thankful for and appreciate what you have. It’s what’s inside you that sustains you.

What is one health issue that you feel is important to teen girls today?

Nutrition! Understand the beauty of a human body. Even if you’re not healthy, you can make it better. What you put in (your body) is what it’ll be made of. So you need the right building blocks.

If you knew what you know now, what would you do differently to improve your health?

I would not have laid out in the sun and I wouldn’t have stayed out so late...I would have gotten more sleep. I wouldn’t have abused my body like that - toasting it and getting so little sleep.

Content last reviewed December 01, 2002
Page last updated December 01, 2002

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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