Health Director

Introducing Your New (Old) Health Director

January 13, 2010 at 9:44 am , by

Flowers2_2Happy New Year, fellow health nuts! I’m Julie Bain, and I’m honored to be back for a return gig as your health director of Ladies’ Home Journal.

Here’s my journey: After 9/11, I was writing health articles for The New York Times and pondering going to medical school. But I changed my mind when Myrna Blyth, then editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Journal, part of Meredith Corporation, offered me a job as health director of the magazine.

I was tickled to be working for Meredith, because back in the 1950s my mom worked in the Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters as food editor of Successful Farming magazine. She was in the Meredith junior executive training program with John Mack Carter, who would go on to a legendary career in New York as editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. (Myrna Blyth followed eight years behind Carter at LHJ.) Mom5

Mom always spoke fondly of her years at Meredith. Her training program was progressive for women and taught her every aspect of the business, “from the ink room to the press shop,” she recalls, always decked out, of course, in fabulous dresses, stockings and heels, and usually wielding a cigarette, as “everyone smoked in their offices back then.” (Yes, that’s Mom, right, looking very Mad Men with her unhealthy ciggie.)

Luckily she quit smoking and I committed to health journalism, despite an occasional pang of longing to become a doctor. When I met Mehmet Oz, M.D. (below), one of the top heart surgeons in New York (and now best-selling author OzBainand TV celeb), he told me I could make more of an impact as a journalist than as a clinician. He inspired me when I was lucky enough to stand on a stool in his OR and watch him perform open-heart surgery on a young woman. It was a revelation: When I saw that beautiful beating heart up close, I decided to dedicate my life to communicating health info to others.

Yes, I went to another magazine for a while, but now, as fate would have it, Meredith has drawn me back. My mom and I are both thrilled. OK, so I’m not a physician; sometimes I just think I know more than they do! But seriously, I’ve spent a lot of time with folks on the front lines of medicine, and I’m really passionate about bringing you the information you need to live a healthier and happier life. So I’ll start now, with this:

GET YOUR FLU SHOTS!
It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, and while the H1N1 vaccine wasn’t widely available in the early part of flu season, it is now (even drugstores like CVS and Walgreens are offering it). I got my regular flu shot back in October. And I just got my swine flu shot from my surgeon brother-in-law in Dallas over Christmas. It didn’t even make my arm sore. It’s safe, will boost your immunity and could even save your life, so do it now!

And stay tuned for lots more health news and advice to come, both here and in the pages of the magazine. Cheers!