Not Such a Goody Two-Shoes

In the Green Room with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Nadine Burke Harris is the founding physician and former medical director of the CPMC Bayview Child Health Center in San Francisco, and the CEO and founder of the Center for Youth Wellness. Before participating in a panel on childhood trauma’s effects on our physical health, she revealed that although she’s an advocate for children’s health, as a kid she would do just about anything not to eat her vegetables.

Q. What was your first job?

A. Raking up the leaves on the lawn. My mom would pay us $0.25 per trash bag.

Q. What’s the last game you played?

A. I played Yatzhee with my husband over our recent vacation. There’s a strategy-I always try to get the top of the scorecard first.

Q. What talent would you like to have?

A.To be able to have any musical talent whatsoever-I would love to be able to sing.

Q. What relaxes you?

A. Hot baths with bath salts.

Q. How do you cure the hiccups?

A. I hold my breath. Based on the physiology it seems like holding your breath would be the most reasonable response because it’s a phrenic nerve spasm.

Q. How did you get into trouble as a child?

A. I didn’t. I was a goody two-shoes. If I were to really think about how I got into trouble … Oh, you know what? I would flush my vegetables down the toilet. Yeah, my dad didn’t like that.

Q. What is the best advice you have ever received?

A. Never limit yourself because there are too many people who will try to do that for you. If there’s something you’re dreaming, just go for it-you never know how you’ll finish until you know who else is running the race.

Q. How do you procrastinate?

A. With e-mail, sadly. I find myself working through emails even though another task might be the priority.

Q. What’s your favorite day of the week?

A. Sunday because we always have a big family brunch at my house, and it’s a ton of fun.

Q. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

A. My husband gave me the gift of a wedding planner for our wedding, and it was a great kindness.

Q. What do you find challenging?

A. Patience.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.