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Full Name: Raja Taunk
Hometown: New York, NY
Place of Practice: Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I had a fantastic experience with the medical field when I was in high school. I used to be an athlete in high school and had an injury while playing high school football at age 16. I interacted with a few doctors during that time and one in particular really stood out and really made me comfortable and empowered me. From that point on, I knew I wanted to be a doctor.
What sets you apart from other doctors in your field?
My field is filled with amazing people. I think a large part of my decision hinged on the laid-back, funny, yet extremely knowledgeable doctors I met along the way. We deal with poop all day; you have to laugh. I think I have a unique ability to turn most situations into a positive one, or at least try to get my patients to smile or laugh to put them at ease and make them think that things will be all right.
What are your 5 tips for living longer?
- Sex: Married men and women live longer than their single counterparts. It's great stress relief, releases endorphins and is an excellent form of exercise. Often times we see patients in their 90s who look 70 and their secret is often sex – and lots of it.
- An adventure every year: I think every person should try to have an adventure or do something crazy every year. Skydive, run with the bulls in Pamplona, hitchhike through a country or eat the world's biggest burger. It's something to look forward to and something accomplished every year. It's a conversation point with friends. People with friends tend to be happier.
- Move your bowels every day: There is a reason you move your bowels. You don't need poop and its disgusting, so get rid of it. A nice bowel movement daily can be a mark of daily accomplishment. You remove toxins, feel lighter. Constipation causes all types of issues.
- Get involved: Volunteer with an organization in your community like Habitat for Humanity. It keeps you connected outside of your normal routine. As you age and your friend circle shrinks and your kids move away, this will keep you tethered and relevant. It gives you the personal satisfaction and contentment to do something nice for others. It provides a network of people to lend you a helping hand when you need it.
- Get tested for Hepatitis C: Especially baby boomers. It is highly treatable now. Ten years ago we had 30% cure rates, now we have 70% cure rates and in 5 years we will have medications that give us 90% cure rates. Most people don't know they have it until it's too late.