Dr. David Wald is an EP and Professor of Emergency Medicine at Temple University. When he’s not in the Department, you can find him out on the water, getting in another paddle. His gold medal wins highlight his commitment, skill, and passion for Dragon Boat racing! Not only does he keep physically fit, but he has figured out how to maintain a sense of balance while juggling several roles in and outside the hospital. Here’s how he stays healthy in EM!

  • Name: David A. Wald, DO, FACOEP
  • Location: Department of Emergency Medicine, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
  • Current job(s): Clerkship Director, Assistant Dean of Clinical Simulation
  • 1 word that describes how you stay healthy: PADDLE
  • Primary behavior/activity to help de-stress: I have participated for many years (almost 30!) in an off the beaten path sport: Dragon Boat Racing. This has been a family affair. My wife was the drummer for the USA team (analogous to the coxswain in rowing) for many years and now my daughter is involved.

What are the top 3 ways you keep healthy?

Not sure I have a top 3 list, but consistency is certainly a key to staying in shape and being healthy.

What is your ideal workout?

Slightly cool summer morning on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia with the sun just coming up over the horizon. One advantage of training at 5:45 AM is that you finish your workout before most people get out of bed.

Do you track your fitness? How?

I have never been one to track my fitness with a heart rate monitor, but the simpler the better. The easiest is with the scale and watching your weight.

How do you prepare for a night shift? How do you recover from one?

I am very lucky to work in a department with a number of “Night Only” faculty. This makes the work-life balance of night shifts so much easier. We group our nights so that each faculty works 2 consecutive nights about every 5 weeks, not bad. As long as I can get a nap (perhaps 2 hours or so) before heading into a night shift, I am fine. I try to get home relatively early after a night shift, eat a small breakfast, and get to sleep. Typically, I will get up by noon and then get another nap later in the day if I have to work a second overnight. However, if I am not working the next night, I try to get up before noon and stay awake all day to get back onto a normal sleep schedule.

How do you avoid getting “hangry” (angry due to hunger) on shift?

For some reason, I was never the kind of person that needed to eat much during a shift. There are certainly times that I need to eating something, but more often I end up eating a meal before my shift and then after the shift is over.

How do you ensure you are mentally in check?

My kids do a pretty good job keeping me in check. My daughter is 14 and my son is 10. If I am grouchy, they will let me know.

What are the biggest challenges you face in maintaining a longstanding career in EM? How do you address these challenges?

Balance is the key. I am sure many people would say this. Balance at work with academic productivity, balance at home with quality time, which is different whether it is your wife or kids.  With my son, part of that balance is making sure I am available to coach his little league team, and for my daughter, it is making sure that I try to get to see her many soccer games. Part of the challenge is also setting your priorities. I actually find it easier in some ways as I have gained some measure of seniority at my institution. One key thing is to not fully overextend yourself and know when to say “no.” One way to help maintain some sense of balance is to set aside some alone time when needed. Perhaps to read a book or workout or whatever, just time to recharge.

Best advice you have received for maintaining health?

Staying healthy is a long term obsession. It is not like cramming for a final exam. Slow and steady wins the race.

Who would you love for us to track down to answer these questions?

David Manthey

Zafrina Poonja, MD

Zafrina Poonja, MD

Editor, How I Stay Healthy in EM series
Emergency Medicine Resident
University of Alberta
Zafrina Poonja, MD


Emergency Medicine Physician @ Vancouver General Hospital. Assistant Editor @ALiEMteam. Lover of travel, soccer, and boat shoes.