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I hope you had a great week. Over the past two weeks, we’ve Talked About “Supporting our Grieving Friends” and “Friendships.”  This week, we focus on ourselves, and learn about HOW TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.
(You can skim this short email or dive in to the many links to learn more!) 

? PODCAST #20:
with North York General Hospital CEO, Dr. Joshua Tepper

I’m very excited to introduce this week’s guest expert, Dr. Joshua Tepper, the Chief Executive Officer at North York General Hospital, one of Canada’s busiest and best hospitals.  As you will see, Dr. Tepper is smart, full of energy, and a great guy.  In addition to his role as hospital CEO, Dr. Tepper is also a family physician, and he teaches medicine at the University of Toronto.  Who better to teach us Talk About Talk listeners about how to talk to our doctor?

Amongst other things, Dr. Tepper suggests the following for when we are talking with our doctors:

  1. Make lists – read the whole list to the doctor, and prioritize; always tell them what your main concern is
  2. Bringing people to our appointments – yes, this can be a good idea.  Whether you are the patient or the friend, ensure that the doctor also has some one-on-one time with the patient.
  3. It’s ok to Google your symptoms – but consider the quality of your sources!  And don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for advice on what websites to read.
  4. Ask questions – there are no “dumb questions” when it comes to your health.  And asking questions might also remind the doctor about something that could help you.
  5. Strategies for when we are feeling awkward or embarrassed 
    • just be honest about everything (including your embarrassment!)
    • don’t hesitate to enquire about who has access to your file
    • if you can’t say it, then maybe try writing it. Some of Dr Tepper’s patients have written him letters!
I interviewed Dr. Tepper in his office on the 9th floor of the hospital.  (Yes, you will hear emergency ambulances in the background of this podcast!!!)

Thank you, Dr. Tepper!




It’s true: men go to the doctor less frequently than women.   In a UK study of over 3.5 million men and women, researchers concluded that the “primary care consultation rate” was 32% lower for men aged 16-60years.  According to this study, Americans go to the doctor only 4 times per year. Canadians go 7 times.  And Japanese go 13 times per year.


We have all heard the numbers, right? 36% of Americans are obese and 29% of Canadians are obese. See the rankings by country here. But wait – have you heard of the “obesity paradox“?  Apparently “fitness is more important than being thin.” (Hmm..)



According to Newsweek’s 2019 ranking, the top three hospitals in the world:



According to the WHO, 72.0 years was the average life expectancy at birth of the global population in 2016.  But of course, it depends on who you are and where you live. Blue Zones are places in the world where people live longer, particularly where there is a higher number of centenarians.  According to Blue Zone researcher Dan Buettner, the five Blue Zones are: Okinawa, Japan; Sardina, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California. 

Here are some of the healthy habits of Blue Zone folks that we might consider to increase our chances of becoming a centenarian:

(Note “SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT” is right in the middle!)


I sincerely hope this week’s podcast on
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR helps you at your next appointment.

Whether we have a regular a wellness checkup or some sort of medical testing or urgent care or even palliative care, our goal as a patient is to receive the most accurate, complete and effective diagnosis and treatment. As Dr. Tepper points out, communication really is the key to successful medical diagnoses:

If you have other suggestions for us on how to talk to your doctor, please email me or post them on one of the Talk About Talk social media pages.

As always, I encourage you to forward this email or send this link to your friends and colleagues who may also be interested in learning about how to become a more confident communicator. THANK YOU very much! 

Have a great week.

TALK soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Founder & Chief Talker – Talk About Talk Inc.


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