UCSF’s Catherine Dower

‘When In Doubt, Let Your Horse Figure It Out’

Catherine Dower is the associate director of the UC San Francisco Center for the Health Professions; she conducts research on healthcare workforce challenges. Before participating in a panel on physician shortages in Bakersfield, she revealed in the Zócalo green room that after checking into her hotel that day, she received some seemingly unlikely but potentially sage advice.

Q:
What animal would you want to be?

A:
I always say a deer first but a cat second. I think the cat is more my true animal; a wild cat is fast and smart, and stealthy. And I think they have a sense of humor, too.

Q:
What was the last thing that inspired you?

A:
The little card on the desk in my hotel room that said, “When in doubt let your horse figure it out.” It made me laugh, and I sent a bunch of texts and emails to folks telling them about it.

Q:
What’s your typical lunch?

A:
I love to eat healthy lunches. I would have a bean salad, maybe a little bit of salmon. I like rice, I like lots of vegetables and fruit. Maybe an iced tea with it.

Q:
When did you last visit Bakersfield?

A:
[Laughs.] I was driving through in the middle of the night, and we stopped at a hotel because we couldn’t drive any further. That was the last time I was here.

Q:
What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

A:
To have children.

Q:
What is your most prized material possession?

A:
That’s a good question. I have some antique prayer books and books of my great-grandmother’s, and that’s probably most prized.

Q:
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?

A:
I have one where I’m flying, and it’s really fun. It’s very exciting—I get to just leap and fly all over the place.

Q:
Who was your childhood hero?

A:
John F. Kennedy.

Q:
If you had one more hour in the day, what would you do with it?

A:
I would split it up in a couple pieces: get a little more sleep and a little more humor—have some more fun.

Q:
What’s your favorite color?

A:
Blue.