(Originally published in the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) Connections Newsletter, October1999.  Reprinted with permission. Contact Barry Hunt for the photo gallery of these events.)


By Janice Gilden, M.S.*


Did you know that Public Health Programs and Services has its very own Renaissance Man?  Well, we do and his name is Barry Hunt, MPA.  By day, he’s the mild mannered Area Administrator for Public Health Centers, but at night and on weekends, he becomes Renaissance Man – ever enriching his mind, staying fit, and increasing his circle of friends – all essential components of his eclectic wellness strategy.


In an effort to stay fit, Barry always finds a moment to “work out,” claiming he’s been a physical fitness buff since his days as a cheerleader at George Washington High School in South Central Los Angeles.  Every day he uses a footstool for his personal version of “step aerobics,” and later climbs 15 flights of stairs before settling down to work.  On weekends, he works out at the gym where he addresses two of his wellness priorities:  physical fitness and making friends.  Barry is also a dance aficionado, accomplished in ballroom and folk dancing.  He says, “Dancing is an easy way to make friends and get a good ‘cardio’ work out.”  Maybe some of you caught him tearing up the Health Services Administration Auditorium floor with his enthusiastic tango at this year’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration or winning first prize with a swell swing at the Diversity Council Sock Hop.


No less important to Barry’s wellness regimen is nutrition.  No “fast food” junky, he reports eating a mostly vegetarian diet – heavy on fruits and vegetables and high on fiber.  When he feels like a sweet, he turns to healthier desserts like yogurt or vanilla pudding.


Not surprisingly, our Renaissance Man believes feeding and exercising the mind is as important as taking care of the body.  Frequently, he can be found writing to friends from all over the world or planning his next international trip.  On Sundays, he’s most likely attending a multilingual brunch where English is the second language.  When he’s not exercising his linguistic skills, he’s probably puzzling over brainteasers, cultivating his cactus garden, or exploring his spiritual side at church.


When asked for his wellness tips, Barry revealed his Public Health experience with recommendations like:  exercise three times a week, drink lots of water, take vitamins, avoid junk food, wear sun block, and floss every day.  Adding his personal preferences, he suggest we try different kinds of exercise, that we join a number of personal interest clubs, and that we get involved in DHS employee activities.  If we do, he promises, “You are likely to have abundant good health, lots of energy, and a renewed sense of adventure!”


Barry Hunt really knows how to put wellness to work.  We thank him for sharing his wellness regimen and tips, and hope his story and recommendations will help others design effective wellness plans.


* Note:  Prior to retirement in 2000, Janice Gilden, M.S., was a senior manager and the former Director of the Health Services Improvement Program for the L.A.  County Department of Health Services (DHS).  This program achieved award-winning results through decreasing patient waiting time, increasing patient satisfaction, improving facility appearance and promoting wellness programs throughout all DHS medical centers, hospitals and clinics.


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