Sean Young, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor) I usually start everyday walking around our neighborhood with each of my children, one at a time. It’s a short walk (about 0.3 miles or so), but it helps us all start the day being physically active, and it gives me a chance to talk with my children one-on-one to see how they’re doing, and answer their endless questions about the world around us. If for some reason I sleep in and forget to start the process of waking my children for our morning walks, one of them will come to my room and wake me up for the walk. None of us are exactly ready for a marathon, but the persistent efforts do pay off, and the side benefits from the fun and sometimes meaningful conversations have been wonderful. It has become a simple, healthy habit.
My wife Brittney and I have always loved maps, exploring and traveling, which is part of what drew me to my specialty of medical geography. I use geographic information systems and other technologies to investigate access to care, environmental exposures, clusters of disease, how infectious diseases spread, and more. Plus, I get to teach these tools to students and other researchers, which I love. While I get to work with maps and geospatial data and analyses every day at work, there’s something about being in nature that screens cannot reproduce. Brittney and I are also trying to keep our seven children (ages 1 to 11) active, happy, and healthy, which has been particularly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. One solution is frequent walks, bike rides, and hikes, when weather permits. We enjoy the break from screens and the chance to wander and explore. We especially like to find waterfalls and swimming holes within a short distance of Little Rock, like Forked Mountain Waterfall, which requires a long drive over unpaved roads, but a fairly easy hike of about 1.5 miles that even the small children can handle (with only occasional complaining).