Interviews

Dr. Faith McAllister- Optometrist, Researcher, and How to Go Into the Storm (#30)

Listen to this episode on your favorite platform!

Dr. Faith McAllister (@faith-mcallister) is one heck of a human. She was recommended to us by our good friend Dr. Kayci Houlette, who we thought was pretty cool, but deferred and said Faith was the one with the interesting job. Not only that, but she has had a wild journey that we can all learn from when it comes to pursuing goals, being willing to pivot when opportunities arise, and taking leaps of faith (yes, we had to), to make our lives, and the lives of those around us, better.

Show Notes + Challenge


We forgot to give Faith a shot at a challenge, but here is her's:

Take a moment this week to schedule your eye exam if you haven't been going consistently!

Faith Originals That Floored Us

"Sometimes you've gotta make the crazy decisions up front."

"Don't think about the job that you want to do for the rest of your life. Think about the lifestyle that you want to live and find something that fits that."


Come on, who just drops such great wisdom on the fly? 🔥


Alcon:

https://www.alcon.com/

This is Faith's home away from home where she helps keep the world a safere place.

Nebraska Food:

https://livability.com/ne/omaha/food-scenes/why-omaha-nebraska-might-be-the-best-place-to-eat-in-america-right-now

Faith mentioned Nebraska and all the great food there. I (Andrew) had beef with this, but let it slide. Good thing I did, because apparently Nebraska is the place to be. My sincerest apologies to all Nebraskan's for making fun of you when you weren't looking.


University of Houston Optometry School:

https://www.opt.uh.edu/

We actually have a few friends who attened here, which is how Faith came across our path, so this place must be pretty dang cool.
If you're ready to become an adventuring eye doctor, this seems to be the place to check out.

Dr. Nimesh Patel:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nimesh-Patel-20

Apparently, one of the greatest advisors to ever live. In case you didn't catch her glowing words about him, we've got a link here for you to explore just how prolific his deeds are.

The Ukele Song:

How we wish we were this talented....

Episode Transcript

Andrew: [00:00:18]Hello, everyone I'll come back to dead by tomorrow. We have faith McAlester on,or I guess Dr. Faith McAlester. If I was to be proper here. She is a, well, Iguess I don't know what to say. You are, you are technically a trainedoptometrist, but that's not your. Trade. So we'll get into that becauseobviously I butchered something here, but you're a friend of one of ours andyou're not actually somebody we have actually met personally before.

So I'm really excited to jump into this and we'll let youkind of give a little more background on yourself. So I don't ruin it anyfurther. tell us a little bit about what you do, where you live the wholeshebang.

Faith: [00:00:54]Thank you so much for having me on this is so exciting. It's definitely notsomething I have done before. Casey, who is who, she's a dear friend of mineand we actually went through optometry school together. So we always joke likethis. Group of girls that we were all very close in optometry school.

Like we went through the trenches together, you know, thosebonds that you make in any type of schooling at that level, it's just kind of,well, we all made it out alive together, you know? But she has been. Anincredible friend and a great inspiration and just a great person to have. Andshe connected.

She was like, Hey, you know, you have a really interestingjob. And I have some friends that would like to talk to you about it. Ilike  sounds like fun. So here we are.

Daniel: [00:01:42]you want to get into a little bit of what a really interesting job is? Cause Ifeel like. You know that coming from an optometrist, which I personally thinkis a, is an interesting job. You know, what, what is it that somebody, somebodywho has an interesting job is like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Like you got to talk to this person. What they do is reallycool.

Faith: [00:02:01] Yes. I work in industry.Whenever you look at healthcare professions as a whole, you know, that's kindof, how close are you to patients of a spectrum kind of between patient careand the research bench? Because anytime you have products that help patients,you know, in my case, Patients see better.

That's kind of the al-khan slogan. Um, Where I work is therehas to be people that guide those companies to help make good medicine and goodproducts and good technology, for patients. Because if it's just, you know,businessmen making things, you have to have people who. Have had experiencesclose enough to patients to really help as well as.

Individual's experience with other doctors to bring thatperspective. So in the grandest scale, that's kind of what I do is I help bringa clinicians and patients voice and opinion to this realm of in my caseoutcome. So my specific role or my job title. As I am a medical promotionalreviewer. What that means on a more functional or day to day basis is any typeof promotional material you see.

And this ranges all the way from like pamphlets that youwould get an optometrist office all the way to like rebuild. Slide decks orthey're called KOL decks for like our big key opinion leaders, the big, youknow, doctors that give lectures on our products to help review those type ofmaterial. I mean, I've even listened to commercials and podcasts and ourvirtual reality simulators.

All of that is considered in some capacity promotionalmaterial, because it is promoting our products and it is talking about theirsafety and efficacy. So it's important for us to take a look at that, to ensurethat what we are saying to the public is accurate as well as keeps their bestinterest in play.

So anytime something like that is created, it comes beforeessentially a board. And that board is comprised of a medical reviewer, a legalreviewer, and a regulatory or an FDA specialist reviewer. And those are kind ofthe key components. So I sit on the medical side of that. So when somethingcomes through, it's my specific role to go through and look through all theseclaims, right?

We have the best ones in the world, or you'll see 12 timesbetter with this. Everybody likes our products way better than the otherbrands, you know, to look through all of those things and say one. Is this goodfor the doctor and good for the patient because it does this matter or are wetalking about weird metrics that don't actually matter in clinic that could beconsidered misleading?

So the kind of big standard is we don't want to be false ormisleading. Everything's going to kind of come back to that. So do we have theacademic and the scientific support? We can't go start saying a bunch of thingsthat aren't true. That's. Illegal because it's false. Are we emphasizing thingswe shouldn't be, or are we placing certain words in certain places and puttingpictures in places that can be misleading to a patient.

And that's kind of, my role is to look through there andsay, Hey, you've polled. A sentence from this, you know, peer reviewed,published manuscript, but their data doesn't actually support that. Like whenyou look through their results, like I've had, I've gone through there. Theydidn't pull that. Right.

We can't say that because if somebody comes back andchallenges us that they try to Sue us. We don't actually have the support. Sothat's more of the technical side of the job is reading through reports,whether it's published studies or internal and house data of looking, you know,what is our sample size?

What is the methods? How did we make this? What are thestatistics behind this? Is this powered appropriately for us to be able to makethis claim. and then a lot of it is also sitting in meetings and talking withpeople. And if we can't say with this word, what word can we say? And coming toa common ground place where everybody is a little bit unhappy, but nobody issuper mad.

Daniel: [00:06:32]Oh, that's, that's fascinating. I've got kind of a whole, whole host of afollow-up questions, but I guess one thing to start is, you know what you'redescribing it, it sounds like you're really in a lot of ways, almost a productexpert when it comes into kind of the marketing that al-khan does, like beingable to say, okay, we have to do marketing, but like, In order to do that, wehave to come and we have to say these things that are really true.

Like any, anybody can go. And like, I dunno for somethinglike shoes or fruit, we can be like, Hey, these shoes, like they make you lookthe coolest of anybody. And like, nobody's doing a research paper to validatethat. But if you're, if you're going out and you're saying, Hey, these contactsare going to give you night vision.

You know, if that's not true, there's real repercussions forthat. So. That that being said, was your undergraduate degree kind of morebusiness focused? Did you go and talk Tom tree school kind of knowing that youwere going to lean industry or was there something that happened along the wayto push you that direction?

Faith: [00:07:35]Yeah, so. When I was a senior in high school in a small town in Nebraska, I.Through a series of events kind of realized I really wanted to go into medicineand I shadowed a couple of different doctors and my cousin-in-law who was anoptometrist at a really beautiful primary care private practice in Nebraska.

And I shadowed with her for a couple of days. I was like,this is great. This is fantastic. Like you get those patient interactions. Butyou don't have like as much a be on call your hours, have a little bit morecontrolled. I liked that environment better than I did some of the bighospitals. It felt like it was, you know, maybe one step down from a lot of thejust tough insurance stuff that you end up with, has like, this is great.

I love this. This is what I want to do. So I went intoundergrad just with, Fire underneath me eye on the prize. This is what I'mdoing. And I actually graduated my undergrad in three years because I like,this is what I'm doing. This is where I'm going. And I was going full force atit. And I did, Because of that and how you take the oat, which is kind of theend cat for optometry.

I ended up having to take a gap year, which is a whole storyin and of itself. But after that gap year, I went to optometry school inHouston. And same thing. Start an optometry school. I am here to become anoptometrist. I'm going to help patients. And this is training me for privatepractice, patient interactions and a lot of things about school.

Cool. Like kind of helped you a little bit aggressivelyalong that funnel. So that was very much my head space from senior year of highschool into my first year of optometry school. Like I'm going to be a clinician.Because of how my scholarship was set up for optometry school. I had to remainin the state for my first summer.

And optometry school is a four year doctoral program. Andjust similar to med school. The first summer is the only summer you get off. SoI define something to do during that summer. And I was going to work. Ouruniversity had a research program. So I was like, well, this is great. Like, Iwould love to do research when I was in undergrad.

I did a research project, with some optical fibers. That wasreally fun. I was like, this will be great. I can definitely jump into aresearch role, you know, have a fun summer and it'll be great. I cannotemphasize how incredibly blessed I was to be paired with the advisor that I wasthe mesh Patel.

I would not. Have been near successful in research. I wouldnot have my job. I would not have my master's if it was not for how incredibleof an advisor he was, not just from a scientific standpoint, but from arelationship standpoint of how he interacted with me as a. Student as well asall the other students when he taught classes.

So I was able to do research that summer and I fell in lovewith research and I just, I was excited to wake up and whether it was literallysitting in a lab for six hours, looking at OCT scans or being up in the labwith subjects, it was. So much fun and I just loved it. And that kind oftransitioned that next year of an opportunity to continue that.

Houston optometry school has a really unique program whereif you want and you want to put in the work, you can get both your doctorate ofoptometry as well as a master's. And it's physiological optics is what theofficial title is, but it's right. Like a master's in research. If you want todo them. And I had already kicked off like a bunch of hours by doing thatsummer research program.

And I did very well with that program and I really loved it.So I had a lot of talked with a lot of people and had a lot of encouragement tolike, Hey. They will pay for the masters. You might as well just like throw itin there. Just like do the master's in addition to the doctorate. And at thetime you're like, Oh yeah, this sounds like a great idea.

That would be that much more work, which was, you know,delusional. But sometimes, sometimes you have to make the crazy decisionsupfront. But what it translated into at school was. You know, on top of beingin a very intense medical program, I would show up an extra hour early in themorning to kick on my computer and start looking at scans and over lunch, Iwould like eat my food fast and then I would go up to the lab to work and thencome back down and go to, you know, whatever my clinical lab was, or I'd bestaying extra time at night before I'd go home and then start studying forclasses and.

It never felt like work. It was such like a peaceful thingfor me to do, and I absolutely loved it. When it came time to actually writepapers and write the thesis, that's probably a little bit of a different story,but it was. It was so worth every single extra minute that, and all the extra,you know, blood, sweat, and tears that I had to put in because I learned justas much, if not more through going through that master's program at the sametime as my doctorate.

It's, it pushed me, you know, beyond just about anything,but it's, I learned so much through that program. Is it because of that? Sorry,long story. When I'm coming out of optometry school, I was kind of looking atsome options and talking to some people. And at that point I wasn't fullyconvinced that private practices, but I wanted to do so.

I actually reached out to a good friend who was. Who was aprofessor at Houston when I was there. And I knew she was now at al-khan. Andso I reached out to her and I just said, Hey, you know, I'm kind of looking atoptions. I know I have this master's, which could be really helpful if I wantedto look at an internship in industry or something like that.

And again, just incredibly. Blessed to have thatrelationship. And she was like, actually, I think there might be a job that youwould be really good for. Cause she knew me, and a couple interviews later anda long car ride and I signed without con and I have loved it ever since.

Andrew: [00:14:21] That is an amazing story.

there's so many places to go, but honestly we could justwrap. Now we can just be done and just call out the podcast if you want.

   you hit on justabout everything that a person could do, right. In a learning and careersetting. You, you had your gap year, which I'm sure was a blast, but you'velearned some stuff there.

Andrew: [00:14:49]And basically you had this goal that you were pursuing, you pursued the goal,but you were still willing to take the pivot when new experiences showed youthat like, Hey, this thing I've been spending a lot and a lot of effort onright. Is needing me to shift priorities. And then you took from there andyou're like, all right, cool.

I'm going to shift priorities maybe. And, Oh, it's going tobe harder if I do that. And you still took the step. Cause I know you said youwere like, Oh, well it's a, master's what, what's the difference? But like, Iam pretty sure at the time you were probably like, Oh, this is, can I do this?Can I actually handle running two different programs at once?

And I'm sure it's easy as you might've thought it was, youdidn't think it was easy per se. You probably knew you were going to, you'regetting into a bit of a challenge.

Faith: [00:15:33]Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of that was probably because of. That gap year. And, youknow, I, I call my gap year, the year that God just made me do trust exercisesfor a whole year. I tend to be a pretty planning person. I like to have a plan.I want the game plan. Like, let's go, this is what we're going to do. And thatwas the year that God kind of just went.

I don't think you trust me enough. So let's just take a yearto practice some trust exercises. And I'm going to show you that even when youdon't have a plan, I do.  Yes. So theyear God made me do trust exercises. It. I mean, there was literally a coupleof times where I didn't know where I was going to live the next weekend, justbecause of a series of unfortunate events.

And that very much made me. Kind of just take a step backand have a better attitude about opportunities of I'm going to try and staymore open to the opportunities in front of me, rather than setting a goal andclosing off other opportunities to it.  When I was looking at career paths, when I was young, one of the bestadvice anybody ever gave me about looking for a job was.

Don't think about the job that you want to do for the restof your life. Think about the lifestyle that you want to live and findsomething that fits that and, find something that you enjoy and you're good at,but don't let that be what you're going to do because inevitably.

It's not going to look exactly what you think it's going tolook like when you're in high school and staring down the barrel of what majordo I choose? And this is going to control my whole life. You know, if travelingevery day of your life is what you want to do. Okay. What type of career pathscan help me do that?

So when I looked at the type of lifestyle that I wanted tolive, you know, at the time optometry private practice, that's what filledback. And then. As I moved forward, you know, it was okay. Is Al con stillallow me to live the type of lifestyle that I want to live. And the answer was,yes. So it was still, you know, using my gifts and my talents and my educationjust in a very different way.

And I would never expect to be where I am, but. I get tohave some of the most incredible conversations with some of the most incredibleintelligent people in this industry and arguably in the world. And it's so fun.It is so much fun.

Andrew: [00:18:12] Man. Hey, Daniel, I think Ineed to quit dude, working on this. I'm going to go try and go to optometryschool. I don't think it's going to work out for me, but I gotta give it ashot.

Faith: [00:18:20]It's a great profession to be in. But

Andrew: [00:18:22]That's cool that it, and that is a, you are doing an amazing job at giving usgood information there on how this kind of process went through. So thank you.We're not, we're learning a lot of stuff that I wouldn't have even known to askyou about. So that's cool.

So I want to jumpmore into that, but let me pivot you real quick, because I like to try and keepyou off your toes.

You're you're too confident so far. So. When we were gettingready to talk about this, you know, before we hit the record button, you had saidthat today you've been working on some woodworking. Was that something thatpopped up during COVID or is this something that has also gone hand in handwith what sounds like a wildly time intensive time, you know, pursuing thiscareer  

Faith: [00:19:06]I was very blessed with parents that pushed us to be well-balanced kids withlike, even from a young age, like I was taking piano lessons at, inkindergarten, and that was a standard for all of us. And that music allowed meto continue on in play all the way through college.

And it's part of the reason I got it over to the collegethat I went to. But also there wasn't. Like I also remember as a kid doingwoodworking projects with my dad. And when we did remodeling stuff on ourhouse, you know, it was very, okay. All the kids are going to help. And onThanksgiving weekend, one year when my dad comes home, he's like, I've got apresent for you guys.

And we're like, yes, but Thanksgiving present. Okay.Normally we get presents at Christmas, but we'll take a Thanksgiving present.He's like, I found hardwood on sale. Menards, we're putting in a hardwood floortoday and we're like,

Andrew: [00:20:01]Oh, no.

Faith: [00:20:02]So like cutscenes too, for children, like with our volleyball knee pads on likeputting in a hardwood floor into our house.

And then when I was doing theater in college and it waslike, okay, we have to build them sets. It was great. It was such a goodbalance. Between that and like science, which is so just sitting down andmemorizing and trying to understand things in this very cerebral way to get, tohave something that is a like tangible and physical expression that you can seego from point a to point B balances my brain so well.

And it's always been something that's. Provided that balance,whether it's music or physically building things. It's always something Ienjoy. This morning I was literally almost giddy. I finally. I was like, Ican't do this project with this like piece of sandpaper that I've done thelast, like four projects in my apartment for, I want the electric sander and Iwent out and bought it.

I was like, yes, this makes me so happy. And it was so muchfun. My boyfriend, he was like, I think there's a lot of your dad in you faith.I was like, yes. Yes. There is like, I'm very excited about power tools.

Andrew: [00:21:17]He said shaking in the corner of the bedroom. As you're revving it up, tell himhe can have my number, if he needs to call for help.  

Faith: [00:21:25]No. I mean, he is. He is fully in it. Like, I, he was, he always takes like alittle bit longer to get on, but pretty soon it's like, you know, this is astandard that I bought and like, you're waiting, you're just going with it now.Like you're, you're you keep using it. it's a great, like building projectswith a significant other, like really test a relationship.

And it's always a good thing to do.

Daniel: [00:21:49]Totally relate on the woodworking side of things. Now. My wife, Hillary, and Idon't, we haven't really done a project together, but we might have to trythat. But as far as the, you know, going from doing something where you're kindof in your head a lot, like I'm not doing anything scientific, but I do a lotof people management and a lot of relationship management and that's just.

Exhausting and one way cause you, you don't necessarily seea lot of the fruits of your labor, but then yes to go and just build a bench orbuild a shelf or whatever it is, where it's like, all right, I'm going to putthese things together. And then I follow the process and it's done. Like,that's definitely satisfying.

 I also wanted toask, so I saw your, your COVID 19 original song on Facebook you didn't play thepiano in that you actually played the ukulele. So is that something you learnedgrowing up or was learning the ukulele, like a COVID habit or a COVID hobby?

Faith: [00:22:43]Picking up the ukulele was actually an optometry habit. When I was in highschool and a little bit in undergrad, whenever I would come home, I would pickup my mom's guitar. She, all of our music talents we get from my mother, she'sincredible musician. That side of the family. Very musically inclined.

So I'd always pick up my mom's guitar and I'd relearn likethree or four chords and I get my calluses and then inevitably I'd have to goback to school or something. And. When I got into optometry school, like Ididn't have a piano around me. I didn't have any musical instrument. And I knewthat I would need that for optometry school.

I was like, well, I can't drag a guitar all around becauseyou know, I would travel home and travel back and I was like, Oh, I could do aukulele, like I could pick that up. And so I put it on my Christmas list and myparents got me a ukulele for my first Christmas in optometry school. And I've justkind of played it, picked it up here and there ever since then, it's, it'sreally fun.

It's super easy to play when I go camping, we take it. WhenI travel, I'll take it and it's just, it's a really easy string instrument toplay. It's it's really, really fun. I, not an expert on it by any means, but Ican play the few chords along to accompany myself. If I've had a few too manyglasses of wine is normally comes out or if we're bored because it's the verybeginning of quarantine and we're going to write a COVID song.

Daniel: [00:24:16]That's fantastic. I think one of my favorite genres of music, which I don'tknow if this is a genre, but it should be is basically a, just kind of, kind ofjoke songs. I'm a sucker

Faith F: [00:24:26]forum.

Andrew: [00:24:27]I can attest to that. Daniel loves. Loves those songs. It's and he finds themlike a, a, a truffle sniffing hog. Uh, He has a talent for it.

Daniel: [00:24:37]just going to say that's the first time I've been called a truffle sniffinghog, but I'll take it.

Andrew: [00:24:42] All right. We're also goingto be referring to faith from now on as the doctor of all trades. Socongratulations on the promotion. We didn't know you needed it, but here weare.

Faith: [00:24:50]Thank you. Oh, but just like a good balance in life. And I I'm no, by no meansan expert at it. Like I just like a lot of people, you know, COVID hit and it'sharder to stay in shape and be motivated. And I've tried to get back with that,but being outside. Like, there really is something about just being in natureand getting outside.

That's good for the body, the mind and the soul, in myopinion.

Daniel: [00:25:18]Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And, and from what I can tell, it looks likeyou've been in a lot of places that are kind of friendly to be an outside. So Ithink you're from nigra. Nebraska and correct me if I'm wrong on any of these,but from Nebraska, was in California for a little while, like San Diego thenobviously went to optometry school in Houston.

I think I found something like, I can't, that you might'vebeen up in Oregon now you're in Fort worth. Like that's a lot of differentplaces. And so what are some of just the highlights and some of your favoritethings that you've done in each of those areas?

Faith: [00:25:50]I mean, Nebraska born and raised probably the greatest thing that I took awayfrom like Midwest Nebraska culture is one like amazing food. There's very goodcooking. As well as work ethic, there is. There are few other places where thework ethic is paralleled to like just ends probably in part, just the family Igrew up in, but it's, we're going to wake up and we start at eight and you goto a lunch and then you go till we're done.

And if we start something we're going to finish something.And that is the standard that we operate at. And. That is something that, youknow, I've just carried through of, if we're going to do something, we're goingto do it right. And we're going to put in the effort to do it. Right. Andthat's, I mean, that's obviously has impacted everything else I've done.

I did my undergraduate school in Irvine, California atConcordia university. Which. You know, really like a lot of kids was the firsttime that I was completely accountable for myself. You know, there was no one,I didn't have a curfew. You don't have anything else. So learning how to studyagain, learning how to manage my time.

As well as learning how to, you know, kind of start socialinteractions. I'm not a big social person. I'm a pretty good, I'm pretty happybeing an introvert most of the time. So starting to push some of those things,then yes, I have a cousin who lives in San Diego. So I did some time down thereand I spent some time with her.

My first two summers, I worked at a camp up in Oregon thatjust. Taught me how to work with. Other people so much better. There isdefinitely a different mentality up in the Northwest. And there was a lot ofpeople that were very different in their attitude towards work and theirattitude towards a lot of things.

Up there. And that really taught me how to communicate withpeople who had very different views than I did and how to work with people whowe're not used to working the way that I worked, as well as just some greatstories, some great life lessons at camp, because you're kinda, you'redistilled down into a very intense environment at camp.

Like. Everything is go, go, go. But you've got all thesekids around you and you're managing like children. I don't know how teachers doit. I really don't. They don't get enough credit. Like I would manage thesechildren for a couple hours and I'm exhausted. So I don't know how they do itday after day. After that, yeah.

Went down to Houston for optometry school and now I'm herein Fort worth. So just a little bit all over the place. I probably still needto hit the East coast a little bit more next, but.

Andrew: [00:28:38]Yeah, those teachers are, they are made of stronger stuff than us. Regularmortals are not, I don't get it either. And East coast would be fun, but it'sexpensive over there. Like you guys are y'all are paying too much money forgetting better access to lobster. I mean, come on.

Faith: [00:28:53]Really? Yes. Yes.

 

Andrew: [00:29:01]Okay. So I'm going to loop us back to kind of your intro where I, I was stumblingon how to give you a proper title, because I knew you were a doctor, but thepresentation I was given about who you are as a person was more as a scientist.

And I'm a silly boy that doesn't know how to combine thosetwo thoughts into my head. So Whenever you are doing your work and everythinglike that, it sounds like you have to be pretty scientific in what you're doingand actually be more of a scientist than necessarily just a doctor.

So do you have any tips? And this is where Daniel and I liketo have the podcast. We've talked about this before. Now that you've convincedeverybody that they should go to optometry school. We want to glean informationfrom you outside of the sales pitch for optometry school, that I hope they'repaying you a lot of money for.

what can you tell us about being kind of a modern scientistand how that applies to people like Daniel nigh?

Faith: [00:29:52]I think one of the biggest challenges in the world, even just the world that welive in today is. We have almost transitioned from is like this golden age ofinformation of having computers and being able to access any information youwant anywhere into this. You know, period of disinformation, it's almost hardto find real, especially for like a common person.

It's harder to find real good science online and in anythingthan it is defined real science between clickbait and agendas and perspective,and people wanting to tell a certain narrative it's really hard to find goodscience. And I think the easiest and best way to approach that is to don't justgo off headlines, right.

And always approach something skeptically, whether it's anopinion about something or, you know, the headline or the conclusions that comeafter that, those are all being formed by people. And while science is scienceand data is data. People are always talking about that data. That's alwayscoming from a person.

So approach things, skeptically as well as follow the rabbithole. That is one of my favorite things to do at my job is to follow the rabbithole. If somebody asks me a question, I'm going to go research it and I'm notgoing to stop at the first answer I get, I'm going to keep going. And ifthere's something weird, I'm going to follow it.

I'm going to see, okay, this person has that opinion, butwhy follow that down? Like go find out why they have that opinion, becausemaybe it's a really good opinion. Maybe they have a title. And you shouldn'tlisten to that opinion. And that's that takes time and effort. And that'sreally hard in the world that we live in.

That's just full of clickbait and disinformation and instantgratification, but find that thing that you're actually interested in andfollow that rabbit hole and hope that it doesn't leave you to a conspiracy. Andwhen it does like go look into the conspiracy and say, okay, wait. This is theactual data point that they're pulling this from, right.

Because a lot of those things start in truth and then theyvery quickly like extrapolate and deteriorate so quick and did like a chaosconspiracy theory. So go find out where it started. Go find out the real datapoint and then make your own conclusion. But don't just listen to what peoplesay, because they're saying it, go find out the whole story, because so much ismisinformed.

Unfortunately, today.

Andrew: [00:32:40]and you nailed that on the head. When you said that in this day and age, it'sreally hard because. Information used to kind of, I'm not going to say wasinformation, but it was a lot harder to pass on maybe false information. Butnowadays, as, as we've seen with social media and people who've watched thesocial dilemma, you are basically fed information that Facebook thinks youagree with in the first place, whether or not it's right.

And that's pretty crazy that we actually have to startquestioning what looks like really legitimate sources of information, because.Yeah, it might be something that you're inclined to believe in or agree with, Ithink is what you're kind of getting at.

Faith: [00:33:16]Yeah. And that's, I mean,  I will even doit at a much more technical level of reading, you know, scientific and peerpublished manuscripts and all go through it and I'll read the results and I'llread the methods and I'll go, this result doesn't matter because they didn't dotheir methodology.

Right. Like we can't use this. It doesn't matter that it'spublished. Does it matter that somebody else said yes. Because I can tell you,they didn't run the right statistics. They didn't have the numbers to supportthis. And normally if I'm questing statistics, I call on our statisticianbecause I am not a statistician, but I at least can kind of get a gauge oflike, Hmm, this smells weird.

I should get somebody who knows more about this than me. Andthat's, that's very discouraging to the general population of like, okay. Soeven if it's, you know, published. And nature you're telling me you can stillbe wrong.

Andrew: [00:34:08] That's crazy. And it isscary being a consumer because, I will periodically look at a, published studyand I go, huh, this looks really legitimate. Oh look, they have a conclusiondown here. What's the conclusion say, Oh, cool. It says this thing. And thatmust be right, because I'm not going through it.

I don't have the background. And most of us don't have thebackground.

Faith: [00:34:26]I mean, if I'm looking at something in immunology, either like, if anything,outside of my, optometry or the products that I reviewed, that realm that I'mspecialized in, I wouldn't be able to pick apart their methodology. I just, Idon't have the information to.

Andrew: [00:34:41]Well, and I love what you're saying there about, you, aren't putting your egoon the line here. You're saying like, Hey, I know what my lane is and I am notscared to call in, the stats guy, or I'm not afraid to bring in this otherexpert because I can accept that I'm not there.

And I'm going to go find someone who is, and if all of uswere more willing to admit when we don't know something and ask somebody who isprobably an expert, or at least has a knowledge base that might work within it,that would be great. That would be a much better world that we would live in.

Faith: [00:35:09]Yeah. And along with that, especially when I read stuff and when I read thingsthat are out of my realm, but with that understanding that not every conclusionis perfect, is this is somebody very intelligent, made this conclusion and theyhave a reasoning for that, regardless if I think it's perfect based off theirresults.

I take that, right? Like faith, the little computer. That'snot a data point in my brain that I'm holding up to everything else that I do.And as you read more that's when you start getting better at that. So the moreyou read, the more you follow that rabbit hole down. Now you start being ableto see like that.

That person's opinion doesn't fit into the standard. Why isthat? And does that change the way I behave? You can have a lot of thoughts,right? Like even today with all of these masks and you know, if you'revaccinated, should you be wearing a mask? How much does it help? Should you bewearing two masks should be wearing four masks, all these things.

Okay. Does that impact what you're actually going to do?And. You can ask a lot of interesting questions, but when it comes back tolike, listen, it could be right. It could be wrong, but I'm going to play itsafe and wear my mask. When I go into a crowded place, when I go in to bearound other people, because the general consensus is that this is helpful andit's not directly hindering me.

Then it's okay to have those interesting thoughts and havethose conversations in those challenging things. When it's not going tocompletely shift your world, because if you're using one article in one placeand you haven't fully followed that rabbit trail and you're going to let itchange everything you do, that's when I think it can get really dangerous.

Andrew: [00:36:51]Great. And it's important as sort of say, modern digital citizens to be able totake that. I don't know, grain of salt with whatever we're seeing and makeresponsible choices based on, I know you said you're not a stats person, butbasically you're talking about stats. You're like, Hey, more than likely thisshould be the course.

And even if it's not, this is, you know, I'm minimizing thisother side of the equation, so I'm going to go this direction.

Faith: [00:37:18]And, you know, really kind of that, that minimal bar, when I look at a study isI'm looking at the population size. Is this study in a sample of five people,or is it a sample of 500? And if it's on a sample of five, like, okay, this isan interesting study to read, but it's probably not representative ofeverybody.

Andrew: [00:37:39]No. That's great information. I love it.

Daniel: [00:37:41]the

idea of like reading

studies is

really,

is really interesting, but I also don't want to belabor thepoint. I'm glad that we talked about, or I'm glad that you brought up thepopulation size. Cause I feel like if there's like one thing you can tell a layperson on a study, it's like, you don't have to read all of the methodology,but just look at like how big the study was because it, man is.

If it's so small, there are just so many confoundingvariables that could actually be the real reason when you're dealing with sucha small number.

Faith: [00:38:13]Yeah. And to just look at that population that bright, the sample size and whothey're looking at, one of the biggest things and, Big medicine is that thereare medical and biological differences between ethnicities. So if a study isonly done in, you know, 50 plus women, white women, you got to take that with agrain of salt of how it applies to the person in your chair.

So take a look at who the study is on. If it's a big sample,small sample and what the population is, and that will give you a lot ofinformation and a lot of framework. When you go to look at the conclusions orread the abstract.

Daniel: [00:38:54]Yeah. Yeah. Or even like geographically was everybody in this study from thesame town.

Faith: [00:39:01]Yes.

Daniel: [00:39:02]and that's one thing I try to think about. Cause I I'm not. As a scientist. butI just try to read things and go in with the mindset of, can I reasonably thinkof another reason why the result of this study could have been reached based onlike yeah, the, the, the group studied and if I can reasonably think ofsomething.

There's a good chance that I need to take it with a grain ofsalt. It doesn't mean that it's wrong. I just need to take it with a grain ofsalt.

Faith: [00:39:26] Yep.My favorite one is the the confounder of obesity on lung cancer. Oh, I mightbutcher this story and this might've been just something I heard, but there.

Initially when there was, you know, information and studiescoming out that tobacco and smoking was causing lung cancer.

There's a lot of pushback from tobacco companies, because ifyour product actively causes cancer, that's not a great slogan for you.apparently there was some pushback saying, listen, you got it wrong. Whatcausing it is a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. And if you look at the peopleyou're selecting the people in, it's just their sedentary lifestyle that'scausing their lung cancer.

And it's like, wait, there may have been a correlation, butthat doesn't mean there's causation. But that's just like my favorite exampleof correlation, causation and confounding variables.

Andrew: [00:40:24]Well, that's a great example of where you can definitely use science as aweapon. Cause I hadn't heard that one, but smoking, you could go back and lookat many, many studies that they did when they were trying to prove that smokingwasn't causing cancer. Cause that was a long fight that they emit eventuallylost, but there's a lot of degreed and medically sound people that signed offon studies that were like, Oh, Hey, this is totally fine.

And now we know better and we can laugh about it, but

in the seventies. Yeah.

Faith: [00:40:53]Yeah.

 

  Andrew: [00:41:00] that was a good story. Andthat leads into, we actually like to have stories at the end. So you had yourgap year, you had all these adventures, basically through school that kickedyour butt. And now you're a working human with a power tools. You have anystories you want to share with Daniel?

I, before we sign you off on this.

Faith: [00:41:16]Oh, yes. I actually have a sticky note on my desk to remind me of this story.Every day when I was at camp, I was a lifeguard for years. So I was kind of incharge of the. Canoeing and kayaking and boating for like these fourth andfifth graders. And there was one day that me and my two boating partners, weare taking this big group of like 30 or 44th and fifth graders who have neverbeen in.

Canoes out onto a Lake. So, you know, you do all the safetytraining and this is your life jacket, and this is your paddle. And this is howwe're going to go out onto the Lake. And you've got these fourth and fifthgraders, boys and girls, and you know how they normally are. Are you cool? Arewe cool? Like what, what are we going to do?

So we get them on the boats. We're all set off. We get thempushed off. We get into the Lake. We start paddling out and straight in frontof us is. A huge rain cloud. You can just see this wall of rain headed towardsus. And all three of us just like dread filled, because we've been in thissituation before where like we're all there in our swimsuits and we're going togo swimming afterwards.

But somehow when it rains and we have people in boats, weall lose it and we need to go in, like, we can't be in a boat when it's rainingand we just go. Oh, we're like, Oh my gosh, we just took an hour to get here.We're going to have to turn them around and go back because it's raining. Andone kid in one of the canoes up to us, he looks at us and he's like, can we gointo the storm?

And for like, It just completely blew our minds. And we'relike, what? And I'm like, yeah, let's just go straight. You want to, I waslike, you want to Knute just right into the wall of rain ahead of us. He'slike, yeah. And I'm like, let's go. And he, you can like hear around in theboats because other people can like, see the rain.

And it's like, okay, which way is this going to go? And hejust yells. Into the storm as loud as he can. And it just like has this rippleeffect through everybody else. And they were all just like, and all of that,just start paddling as hard as they could just like straight into this wall ofrain, we're all soaked.

And they had a blast. Like nobody had ever let them do thatbefore, you know, and. It always reminds me of how big of a difference yourattitude can make when you approach a problem, not just for you, but for thepeople around you, like attitudes really are infectious. And when you come upagainst a challenge, what is going to be your attitude.

But whenever I have something really, really tough, like abig project or a big. Rain wall in front of me. I try to just remind myselfbuckle down and into the storm. Like, let's go.

Andrew: [00:44:09]Oh, my goodness. I want to meet this kid. That guy is going to be a hero. Thatis

you had a little mini Thor with you.

Faith: [00:44:16]yes. Yes. He was so excited. I was like, okay, let's go.

Andrew: [00:44:20]Well, and that is, that is so cool because it is a lot of, so to say adults, welose that mindset of , Hey, we can do this thing. Like it's going to beslightly uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't go into thestorm. Like you could have fun and you could, forget about the consequences, dothe thing that looks hard and take that challenge.

That's awesome

Faith: [00:44:40]stop trying to avoid challenges and to live the most comfortable life and gofind something. To accomplish no mean that it's going to take everything out ofyou to do it.

Andrew: [00:44:51]Beautiful. That is a beautiful note to end on. We're going to leave it there.

Well, faith,

thank you so much for coming on and giving us your time.This has been a awesome conversation and Daniel and I are both going to go tryto join you in the ranks of apparently adventure filled

optometry school

There you go, well, Hey, I've got kayaks. So if you guys arein town, let me know and we'll find a storm to head into.

Got it that we're going to hold you to that. Well, everybodylistening, thank you for hanging out with us. Hope you guys enjoyed this one.Faith really dropped some   knowledge forus.

So thank you for letting us share some of your wisdom faith,thank you for coming on everybody. Thank you. And we look forward to connectingwith you guys soon.