Dave Merino, MD

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Name: David Merino

Age: 29

Hometown: Mill Valley, CA

Specialty: Emergency Medicine

Place of Practice: New York, NY

Why did you want to become a doctor?

I've been a science/biology nerd my entire life. When I was in high school I realized that I liked working with people and wanted a job where I could do both. At the same time I read The Hot Zone and thought that viruses and medicine were really cool, and was taking a human physiology class. It all kind of came together my junior year and I thought this is what I want to do (previously I had wanted to work in movie visual effects at ILM).

What sets you apart from other doctors in your field?

Well my DNA, fingerprints and social security number are pretty unique. Does that count? I don't know, I'm a pretty middle-of-the-road kind of guy.

 What are your tips for living longer?

  1. Go outside! Our culture and our kids are leaning more and more to an indoor and sedentary lifestyle. The world, nature, exercise, experience, life, is outside. I try to get out at least once a week, even if it means walking home from work across Manhattan. Now that I have a bit more free time, I am trying to do something wilderness-oriented once a month. 
  2. Cook for yourself (it doesn't have to be healthy). It's fun, and it generally doesn't have all of the processed ridiculousness that goes in to industrial restaurant food. 
  3. Be vegetarian. I've been a pseudo vegetarian for 18 years (I eat dairy, eggs and fish, and sometimes meat if I'm in another country). I generally don't preach about this, and I really don't have anything against meat, but in the US we eat too much of it, and most of it comes from operations that have no respect for the animals or the consumer let alone health or flavor. Happy animals, without steroids or antibiotics that have been fed their natural diet tend to taste better and be better for you. Preachy and elitist I know, but it is how a lot of the best food countries go about eating meat, and hey, maybe they're on to something. Food shouldn't be a commodity.
  4. Get a puppy! They're great, they love you unconditionally (if you treat them well), they get you outside and walking, and come on, puppy! I'm convinced they help you live longer and there have been a few studies to suggest the same. 
  5. Don't end up in the emergency department! I guess this is the only one that has to do with the ER, but wear your seat belt (even in taxis), look before crossing the street (again it's the taxis, I spend I lot of time pulling yellow taxi paint out of people), drink responsibly (if you're young and otherwise healthy and you wind up in the ER because you're drunk, you need to look at your life and choices, and you need to have better friends. They should either help you limit your drinking, or have the decency to take care of you afterwards!), wear a helmet (biking is great, but New York is dangerous!)