On Monday, two women came in to discuss their experiences in the health psychology field: Ebony Lambert and Dr. Olbirsch. I thought it was incredibly insightful to hear about two people in two very different places in their education and careers in the field. Dr. Olbirsch was well known in her field, having published multiple journals and working with hospitals in order to get her expertise known. Ebony, a graduate student at VCU, was working towards her Doctorate in the field where she spent most of her time in the lab working with the different theories of health psychology. Dr. Olbirsch discussed how, before obtaining her degree, the field of health psychology was very small and many people did not know what this career entailed. She also outlined how many people, even today, compare her to a social worker which angers her. She believes that health psychologists are critical to the medical field in terms of their holistic views of the patients as well as their wealth of knowledge on how to improve the health of society. I thought it was interesting how, when approached with someone who is considered unhealthy with their lifestyles, Dr. Olbirsch’s first reaction is to tell them just to walk. This seemed counterintuitive to me, however, when thinking further it seems to be an important motivation for the patient to get healthier.
Ebony Lambert had an interesting viewpoint, as well. Unlike Dr. Olbirsch, she is entering a field that is growing in its use and respect. It made me feel like I was learning in this course when Ms. Lambert talked about her constant use of different theories in her research. Additionally, while Ms. Lambert has a long road ahead of her, she seemed to be enjoying the research and learning of the inner workings of the field. This gave me motivation as I also hope to obtain my doctorate in psychology. Often times I get anxiety thinking about the long road ahead of me consisting of many years of graduate school and improving my reputation in the field. However, hearing Ebony talk about her love for her work gave me hope. I thought it was very inspiring to hear about her interest in K-12 students, as I often think of a health psychologist working with the elderly. Overall, this talk broadened my view of health psychology as a field and allowed me to see the important workings of health psychologists, whether that be those with ample experience or those still learning. Perhaps one day Ebony will get the introduction that Dr. Olbirsch did with her multitude of accreditations.