Laura B. Vater, MD, MPH is an Internal Medicine resident at Indiana University. She plans to pursue a fellowship in adult Hematology/Oncology. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Doctor of Medicine from Indiana University School of Medicine.
Dr. Vater's work is focused on helping patients live the best quality of life possible, even in the midst of serious illness. Her research interests include prevention and early detection of cancer, health disparities, health communication, and clinician well-being. She developed a tool to help patients and health care providers simplify and prioritize health (the SMILE Score). This tool is starting to be used in clinics and schools across the U.S.
Hi, I'm Laura Vater.
I'm a physician, wife, and mother.
With a busy schedule, I have often struggled to prioritize my health.
During my medical training, I knew I needed to take care of myself, but I was tired and inconsistent. I started to search for ways to simplify my approach to health.
As I explored the data on habits that promote health, I found a clear message: get enough sleep, be physically active, find healthy ways to de-stress (such as meditate), connect with others, and eat a mostly plant-based diet.
I wanted to find a memory tool to reinforce this information, especially after spending years synthesizing complex information with the help of memory aids. Frustrated that I could find none, I decided to create one—what I have named the SMILE Score.
This simple tool has changed how I think about health. It has helped me consistently live healthier and feel happier, and I hope it will help you too.