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.
What animal would you want to be?
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.
What was the last thing that inspired you?
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.
What’s your typical lunch?
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.
When did you last visit Bakersfield?
[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.
What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
To have children.
What is your most prized material possession?
That’s a good question. I have some antique prayer books and books of my great-grandmother’s, and that’s probably most prized.
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?
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.
Who was your childhood hero?
John F. Kennedy.
If you had one more hour in the day, what would you do with it?
I would split it up in a couple pieces: get a little more sleep and a little more humor—have some more fun.
What’s your favorite color?