The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition recently appointed Rebeccah R. Rodriguez, DO, to its Science Board. Nominated for the post by Robert S. Juhasz, DO, the AOA’s immediate past president, Dr. Rodriguez will officially begin her three-year term in January. To the president’s council staff’s knowledge, she will be the first DO to serve on the council.
The DO recently spoke with Dr. Rodriguez, a family medicine and sports medicine physician in San Diego, about this new role, her career and osteopathic medicine. Following is an edited interview.
What will you be doing for the council as a member of its Science Board?
One of my main tasks will be reviewing the latest scientific research on fitness and nutrition and drawing from it to advise the council on program development and recommendations. I will also be attending conferences and collaborating on projects with the other board members.
To the council’s knowledge, this is the first time a DO has served on it. Does your appointment have the potential to help raise awareness of DOs and osteopathic medicine?
Definitely. I’m honored to serve on the council as a DO. When I was appointed, I received information about my future fellow council members. As I looked through the different qualifications and wonderful education and training that everyone brings to the table, I realized that this is a great opportunity to represent osteopathic medicine in a prominent national organization.
I’ll have the chance to educate the other council members on what DOs do. I’ll tell them about treating the whole person—body, mind and spirit, and how DOs incorporate evidence-based practice when advising patients on nutrition and exercise.
Besides this appointment, what other achievements in your career are you most proud of?
I always say becoming a DO is my greatest achievement. A lot of patients come to my clinic and say, ‘We sought you out because you are a DO.’ That is really rewarding to hear.
I’m also proud to serve as a team physician for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. I’ve worked many events at the center such as the BMX World Cup, USA Beach Volleyball games and the world games for field hockey.
You are also the CEO of the Latina Strong Foundation, which promotes health and wellness in Latinas. What do you do in that capacity?
A few weeks ago, I gave a talk to the Phoenix chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses on the importance of taking care of your mind with relaxation and yoga. Next week, I’ll speak at the National Hispanic Women’s Corporation conference on maintaining immune system health.
What advice would you give to aspiring physicians?
Be passionate about what you do. Work hard and give everything 100%, from the events you cover to the patients you take care of. Always remember to treat the whole person and have fun with your career. Give back to your community, and remember to give thanks to those who have supported you.