Episode 27 of Perfectly Pl@nted is informative and delightful. We had the pleasure of spending time early on a Sunday morning with Dr. Rakesh Jotwani. Dr. Jotwani, known affectionately as Rak (rock) by his friends and family, is a lifestyle medicine physician and adult internist practicing in San Francisco, CA.
The son of first-generation Indian immigrants, Dr. Rak was born and raised outside of Chicago. He studied neuroscience at Duke University, and it was there he became interested in issues of social justice and equity. In his senior year, he facilitated a semester-long course on child advocacy that included leading an alternative spring break trip to Philadelphia. After college, he returned to Chicago to serve in the AmeriCorps program at a health care non-profit working to expand health insurance coverage and address the burdens of medical debt.
Dr. Rak then went on to medical school at the University of Chicago, during which time, among other things, he participated in a medical mission trip to Cuba and served a term as president of his medical school’s chapter of Physicians for Human Rights.
Dr. Rak moved to San Francisco for residency, where he trained in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco. His training pathway had a specific focus on health disparities, with his primary care clinic based at the city’s large county hospital, San Francisco General.
After finishing his residency, he became a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Francisco, where he practiced for 11 years, before transitioning to outpatient primary care approximately a year ago.
After experiencing the power of lifestyle changes in his own life, Dr. Rak realized he wanted to do this for his patients as well. To that end, in 2018 he obtained formal board certification in Lifestyle Medicine, and helped establish a lifestyle medicine program at his medical center, where he serves as the inaugural Director of Lifestyle Medicine. He has an avid interest in how we can effectively change our habits, and regularly speaks about this subject to other healthcare providers across the United States.
Dr. Rak is also a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s member interest group HEAL (Health Equity Achieved Through Lifestyle), and is involved in helping to make practice materials for health care professionals to help facilitate lifestyle change for their patients, particularly amongst groups that have historically faced health inequity.
He recently started a website, part of his social mission to help others make lifestyle change and transform our system of healthcare. His website can be found at RakYourLife.org.
Dr. Rak is married and has three kids, ages 10, 8, and 6. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time cooking and enjoying plant-based meals, hiking, and lifting weights.
More about Dr.Rakesh Jotwani
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