Welcome to my forth post in my new series called “Coffee Chat.” This series is focused on inspirational women who love their jobs and want to inspire other women to find their passions and transform their lives. Today’s coffee chat features my favorite sports physician, Dr. Rebeccah Rodriguez Regner. This woman is upcoming in the medical field – supported the 2016 Olympic athletes and is currently featured in a PBS show mentoring young girls to inspire their sports teams on health and fitness. Keep reading to hear all about her life career and lovely advice.
1. Where you live and one fun random fact about you to break the ice with our readers.
I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona, born and raised and did some medical training there. I now live in Vista, California with my husband. One random fact would be sometimes on the weekends I like to breakdance, move away the furniture from the floor and spin on my back and do some other things.
Best breakdance song?
Chaka Kahn – Ain’t nobody ? ? ?
2. Describe what the day in the life looks like for you?
My day typically is not just 8-5pm, usually it’s going getting up in the morning and heading to clinic. Stay at the clinic from 8 am to about 12 o’clock pm. Then I do my daily workout from 12pm to about 1:15pm. I’m lucky because we have a physical therapy center there with a locker room and shower so I can be ready for the afternoon clinic. Then I stay at the clinic from 1:30 to 5pm. After that, usually there’s some type of conference call, board meeting or article I have to write for the different organizations I’m involved with. A lot of times that can happen as I’m taking the coaster back home or driving in the car. Sometimes there might even be sporting events like doing sports physicals after clinic. Everyday is different and rarely is it just from 8-5pm.
3. What inspired you to go down your career path (Medical Field)?
Two people inspired me to go down the medical field path, the first being be my dad. He was a medic in the Air Force. He used to have once of those black old school doctor’s bag that he kept in his closet and it was full of wraps, medical scissors, tape and splints. My brother, sister and I would always go into his closet and try to bandage each other up that was kind of like my first experience with medicine. As I got older, I had another experience while doing a show for Disney (Pediatric Aids benefit concert) and I was a dancer in the show. We had a family practice medicine doctor that was on set and he would take care of us if we had any injuries or illnesses and I always thought that was pretty cool. And then my mentor came along and that was Dr. Craig Phelps, he’s now the president at A.T. Still University and he was the Phoenix Suns doctor back in the day, as well as the Arizona Ballet company team’s physician. He took me under his wing when I was 18 years old and I thought to myself, this is what I want to do when I grow up. He was an amazing inspiration and motivator and took time to sit down with me and discuss my goals and help me plan every single bit of my education and training up until now.
4. What was your very first step to get you where you are today in your career?
First Step… I think it was probably in high school my senior year, I was faced with a decision to either choose academics and receive the scholarships from the surrounding schools (I finished in the top 5% of my class) or move to LA and pursue dance, acting, singing. My dad said go to LA be a star, and my mom said I shouldn’t throw away money and that I need to go to college for at lease a couple of years to get my basic education. So it was a lot of soul searching, but in the end I thought about how I grew up and how my parents supported the dreams, hobbies and gifts my brother, sister and I had and I thought to myself, I want to be able to take care of my family and give back the way they gave to me. There’s was this big unknown exciting adventure ahead with medicine and something on a whole other level that I was really intrigued with so I decided to commit to college and pursue medicine 100%.
5. What is one challenge you had to overcome in order to reach happiness with your career?
Dance was my passion and it made me happy. But I knew that medicine, education and training was going to be a whole other ball game and bring a different type of happiness when I would begin my interaction with patients and see results. And being able to touch people’s lives takes a while to do because you have to put in your hard work, training, studies, tests, residency and fellowship training. It’s a long road, so I guess the hurdle I had to get over was how I was I going to incorporate something I knew made me happy and combine it with what I was going to be doing in the future, which was medicine. So as I mentioned my mentor that I first met as I started college and I saw what he did as the Physician for Arizona Ballet I thought, that is exactly how I’m going to combine the two and get over the hurdle and maintain that happiness and connection to the arts. I’m going to be a dance medicine doctor, I’m going to do sports medicine and I’m going to take care of the dancers, actors and singers. So that is what I do and focus on today.
How did this this focus of connection help you at the Rio 2016 Olympics?
I think in relationship to kind of combining dance and medical education at the level of the Rio 2016 Olympics was working with the gymnast and being able to know the vocabulary of the different choreography and their moves. They were actually quite surprised because I had this background and nobody else did, so it was really neat to build that rapport with the athletes because of my background in dance, whatever treatment or recovery that I suggested for that athlete they were trusting of me and my knowledge.
6. What are three habits you would recommend to someone pursing their dream career in fashion?
BE COMMITTED – when you decide to go into the medical profession and become a physician. It’s really all or nothing, you can’t go in there thinking maybe I’ll try this for a little bit, you got way too many loans to pay back, way too many years of education, and the law won’t let you do another residency in another area, if you don’t like it you have to pay for it yourself in some way. So you have to be committed in knowing that it’s a long road but it’s very fulfilling.
WORK HARD– whatever specialty that is chosen, there’s always going to be obstacles in your day and it could be physical, mental or emotional. Your residency training helps to build your mental toughness and endurance. Yes, you learn repetition and how to treat cases, but it also builds your mental toughness and ability to sustain hours a day to listen, to treat and to apply what you know to provide the best care. There’s also lifelong learning, you’re never going to know everything so working hard to continue is important.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS AND UTILIZE RESOURCES Just because you’re a physician, you’re not alone. There are many people that you can call on. My mantra I go by is medicine is a team approach. Many people will need to have specialists, many people will need to incorporate alternative medicine, as well as fitness, health, diet into their wellbeing and so it’s really being able to recognize your resources. There’s a lot more to making a person healthy than just you.
7. How would you describe your support network? Who’s in it?
Support network… So the support network for me is huge. Looking at the people that are there to truly support you, it may look like you have a lot of people there, but you have to go back and think about who’s been there and who’s truly helped or been friend or confidante for the right reasons. Mine starts with:
2. My husband
3. My family (mom, dad, brother, sister)
4. Good Friends
5. I’m going to say Pets (Aww pets)
8. What’s one skill you’re currently working, that will help you further your career?
Skill currently working on … My last name is Rodriguez, but we didn’t speak a lot of Spanish growing up in my home. I took the opportunity to take it in high school and minored it in college and that allowed me to teach medical Spanish at Midwestern University in Arizona as a project to graduate with my minor. From there, I volunteered at every health fair in South Phoenix to continue to practice. Then at family parties I would start to pick up more, but they would speak “spangelish.” With moving on in my education and training there was a gap and trying to keep up with the language, I felt a little rusty. I feel that meeting my husband and us both sharing the love of Latin culture (he loves those latin women…LOL) I was able to go out of the country on several trips and practice. Being fluent is so important, not only does it connect me to my roots, but it allows for different opportunities to connect with my culture…I’m going to be SYgirls, it’s a radio show that I serve as a mentor for 10-14 girls. These episodes are focused on fitness and health, I’m really helping them to learn about certain fitness programs and exercise regimes that they can learn to help their sports teams that they’re involved with. It’s because of the Spanish language I was able to connect and do the show. Practicing Spanish everyday, sing it, love it!
9. To balance out your work life, what’s your fitness and health regime?
Balance out fitness and health… Monday – Friday during lunch time.. cardio, HITT, pilates, yoga. It’s really combining different types of exercise to keep my body mobile, healthy and fit. On top of that, outside I’ll take pilates and yoga classes, go running in the neighborhood and participate in boot camp classes. I really try to keep activate and I’m always up for doing stuff over the weekend (kickball and crochet – sport of King).
10. What is one movie that helped you on your career journey that you would recommend?
Movie recommendation – Flash Dance. I could never forget the message which was, take your passion and make it happen. I also love me some Irene Cara singing “what a feeling.” It’s about this dancer who is scared to go down this path, but she’s prepared and has done different types of training and in order to take it to the next level she has to do this audition. There’s a lot of life things that come at her and as it does it does for many people, those life things and fear have the potential to set you back or prevent you from moving forward. She surrounds herself with a good support system and jumps into in and gave it 100% and she became successful. I think that story can relate to a lot of people showing that hard work, time and dedication and take their dreams to the next level…and doing things to be successful and being happy – that’s my fave!! : )