Interview with Yoni Freedhoff

Our interest is to talk with successful colleagues. Our interview was done with Yoni Freedhoff, MD, CCF. He is an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. In 2004, he became the founder and medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute.
He is one of Canada’s most outspoken obesity experts.  He is also a popular video blogger; his YouTube channel is The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work. In 2014, he published a book under the same title. Read this interesting interview :

1. Why did you chose to become a doctor?

Honestly for me it was a bit of an accident. I was on a path to getting a PhD in genetics, but after a few years of bench work during my undergrad I realized I don’t particularly like bench work, and all my friends were taking their MCATs and applying to medical school – and so I did too.

2. Why have you chosen this field of speciality?

Again, an accident. I hadn’t been taught pretty much anything about nutrition or obesity medicine in medical school or residency and decided that learning more about both might be a good excuse to go to Las Vegas for a conference. Turned out I really enjoyed it and have made it the focus of my practice since 2004.

3. What does your typical work day look like?

I see patients every day for 8-10 hours. During down times I write and am pathologically attached to Twitter.

4. What are your achievements till date?

I’ve had the fortune of affecting a fair bit of change over the years. From shutting down a fat shaming exhibit in Epcot, to helping put an end to a terrible front of package food labeling program, to writing a book, being featured in a documentary, shining a light on Coca-Cola’s efforts to fund bad science, and more. It’s been a fun ride that’s for sure.

5. What’s the most common misconception about what you do?

That it’s especially lucrative! At least here in Canada, if you want to be a physician working in the delivery of ethical, evidence-based obesity medicine, don’t go in it for the money. If you’re lucky you’ll earn as much as your family physician friends, but you probably won’t earn more.

6. How do you feel about your job?

Love my job.

7. What is the most interesting part of your job?

Probably the ability to influence public policy. I realize that it’s not a direct part of my day to day with patients, but I do believe that as physicians, we should also be advocating for patients and the public as a whole.

8. What are your plans about the future?

Going to keep on doing what I’m doing and hope that by this fall, our office’s digital tool will be ready for launch (currently just finishing with coding, then in office beta testing, then distance beta testing, and then launch)