Share this episode:
John Whyte: Chief Medical Officer, WebMD
My Day | My Life
BY PETER BOWES | SUNDAY JULY 10, 2022
John Whyte is the Chief Medical Officer at WebMD. He is on a mission to share accurate health information in a world where finding reliable medical advice can be challenging. In this episode he tells us about his well-scheduled day, focus on family, aging better today and tomorrow, guarded relationship with social media and drive to improve the accessibility of reliable medical advice.
Connect with Dr. John Whyte: Bio | WebMD | Book: Take Control of Your Cancer Risk
Related episode: Covid’s Silver Lining? – LLAMA podcast – March 16, 2022
Apple Podcasts, Audible, Stitcher,
YouTube, Tunein, Spotify
Pandora Podcasts, Google Podcasts
My Day | My Life explores the lives of people who have, in one way or another, mastered the art of aging. Whether it be through diet, exercise, mindfulness, spirituality, nutraceutical interventions, social connections, generosity or fulfilling careers, we discover the essential elements to living life with purpose, and perhaps, longevity.
DoNotAge.org is offering listeners to LLAMA a 10% discount on its range of products – NAD boosters, Sirtuin activators, senolytics and more. Use the code LLAMA at checkout. Any health queries can be answered by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. This podcast receives a small commission when you use the code LLAMA for purchases at DoNotAge.org – it helps to cover production costs and ensures that our interviews remain free for all to listen.
Transcribed using Sonix AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.
John Whyte: I’m 54 years old. I’m a, I guess, relative early riser. I’m usually up around 6 or 630. On days that I see patients, I’m up even earlier. My frame of mind when I start the day is usually one that’s very positive.
I wake up very purposeful. What do I want to accomplish that day? Is it a series of interviews that I’ve prepared for or that I want to do well at? Is it a series of articles that I need to review for our site? I kind of wake up with a mission. I’m very scheduled. I’m very I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I very much look on my calendar, review my calendar several times a day, and really try to maximize most minutes of the day. From the moment I get up, it’s usually all hands on deck. Everything is is moving. There’s no kind of let me drink a cup of coffee and relax and turn on the news. There’s a lot of activity in the morning.
My day when I start up is really focused on my two young boys. There’s a lot of activity getting ready for school, but also having breakfast together as well. And that’s something that I have really enjoyed, especially during these past 20 months.
My professional life has been that of a physician. So I did a residency in internal medicine, followed by a fellowship in Health Services Research, and then came to Washington to work at Medicare to figure out how do we make services available to beneficiaries. I took a little detour and worked at the Discovery Channel in terms of heading up this health and medical program, of getting good information to the public. Then came back to government to work for the US Food and Drug Administration in terms of working on the processes for drug approval. And now currently I’m at WebMD is the Chief Medical Officer. But a common theme throughout my professional career has been how do I make sure that patients, consumers, the public get good, credible, quality health information that they can take some action on?
My focus on aging has been how do I control the quality of my life? None of us can technically control the longevity. None of us know the time nor the hour. But what we can do is maximize our health and use what tools we have. So is it eating quality foods, getting physical activity and, you know, trying to get quality sleep and reduce stress and doing it not just for me, but also so I can be around for my family, I can be around for my patients, I can be around for society to hopefully have a positive impact.
I still have this old school model of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and what I’ve been fortunate at is at breakfast and dinner we tend to have that as a family. We tend to eat. On the earlier side, I joke, it’s like the theater time we eat at 530, 6:00. And since we have young children, but then that actually allows us a lot of family time. So I don’t do work till my children go to bed. And we have nice time as a family, sometimes watching a movie, sometimes just playing games. And that has been very fulfilling because I think it’s important for everyone to have that balance of family and friends along with work.
Social media certain plays an important role in our society. It can be a great source of information, sadly, also misinformation. So what I do is I take a break from social media every day. So I know some people sometimes will do it for extended periods of days or weeks or even months. For me, it’s more of a few hours during the day. Personally, I don’t check social media when I wake up in the morning. That’s not the right time to get all agitated by it.
And I don’t do it before I go to bed because I don’t want to have things on my mind and I don’t do it when I’m with family and friends. And it annoys me, to be honest, when other people do, because I think you need to be present. I’ve learned we will regret those opportunities later on if we don’t take advantage of them now, some of those little things that won’t seem so little, you know, ten years from now.
Years ago when I’d go to bed I’d have it as my time to review the day. Things that went well. Things that went badly. And I’ve learned over the years that’s not a good use of time, certainly not before bedtime. So for me, right before I go to sleep, right now, my focus is just a quick reminder. What do I have planned for the next day? Because I’m kind of a scheduler. I like to be very planned and then I go to sleep, luckily pretty easily. I’m usually falling asleep within 10-15 minutes, which is what most people should do. I sleep okay. I would like to sleep a little better as we all would, but there are sometimes some outbursts of Daddy that necessitate my attention. But it’s all good. I wouldn’t trade it.
The Live Long and Master Aging podcast, a HealthSpan Media LLC production, shares ideas but does not offer medical advice. If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.