Taking a different path to help patients achieve wellness
After 16 years as a practicing physician, Jamie McManus saw a different way she could help people understand that their good health is a responsibility shared with their doctor.
"I loved every minute of being a doctor," she says. "My patients taught me to listen intently and to focus on the entire person. They taught me to be open-minded and creative and to challenge established and traditional approaches. They inspired me to work with them to create a treatment plan that could be put into effect after they walked out my office door."
For McManus, bringing that message to an audience outside the exam room was a natural transition
"Doctors are simply too busy to devote the necessary time to each and every patient, to give advice on diet and weight loss, to illustrate stress management techniques, and to outline personalized exercise regimes so that each patient has the best chance to stay healthy," McManus says. "I wanted to devote my time and energy to efforts stressing what can be done to preserve health."
Promoting good health
Her interest in spreading the dual message of preventing disease and promoting health led the UC Davis 1979 alumna to manage medical affairs and health education for two large health-related corporations. Today, she is a sought-after health and wellness speaker and educator, as well as an author.
"My patients taught me to listen intently and to focus on the entire person."
— Jamie McManus
Since 2004, McManus has managed medical affairs and health education as chairman of medical affairs, health sciences and education for Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton, Calif. She is responsible for leading Shaklee's clinical research efforts in support of product development and distributor education. In 2004, Cedar Fort, Inc. published her book, "Your Personal Guide to Wellness."
She also served as senior vice president of medical affairs and education for Herbalife International, for which she traveled to more than 44 countries in eight years. She hosted live interactive television shows on health topics that were broadcast to five continents, spoke to live audiences in these countries, and appeared on countless radio and television broadcasts.
On prevention path
She likely didn't envision a medical career while growing up in Eureka, Calif., where as a girl she thought about becoming a doctor because it seemed like "a noble profession." Later, while she was a UC Davis undergraduate earning a bachelor's degree in biological sciences, several of her family members had lifethreatening illnesses, including her paternal grandmother, who died at age 61 from colon cancer.
"Her death inspired me not only to have a career in medicine and treat disease, but to work on prevention and to encourage people to be as healthy as possible," McManus says.
That concept became the focus of her family practice residency at UC Davis Medical Center from 1979 to 1982, after she graduated cum laude from the School of Medicine. She also did postgraduate studies in microbiology and nutrition at UC San Francisco.
Read more about it in UC Davis Medicine
Women have long been underrepresented in the field of medicine. Moreover, women’s unique health issues, as well as gender-specific responses to many diseases, have too often been inadequately addressed in medical education and medical research.
At UC Davis Health System, faculty and staff take a comprehensive approach to addressing gender medicine and, in particular, women’s health.
Read more in the current issue of the health system’s magazine: UC Davis Medicine.
Her 16 years in family medicine included 10 years at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Roseville, as a staff physician in urgent care at Sierra Doctors Medical Group in Auburn, as president of the Wellness Center in Citrus Heights, and as lead physician at the Providence Harbor Village Clinic in Mukilteo, Wash. From 1986 to 1996, she was also an assistant clinical professor in the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Leading alumni association
McManus' newest challenge began July 1 when she assumed the role of president of the School of Medicine's alumni association for a two-year term.
"The alumni association is a way to give back to the School of Medicine what it gave to me — a wonderful career in medicine and an open-mindedness in approaching health from many different aspects, including what I do now to educate on health, wellness, prevention strategies and nutrition," she says.
She hopes the association can be an active force in shaping the ongoing growth of the School of Medicine and UC Davis Medical Center "as a premier and cutting-edge leader in the future of health care."
"I want to bring more alumni into the fold, whether it is supporting scholarships for medical students or expanding the endowed chair for bioethics and other areas of emerging interest," McManus says.
"We want our alumni to be connected, to share in the richness of what they are doing around the world, and to believe in the importance of giving back to UC Davis and supporting its role as a leading academic medical institution."