WEST PALM BEACH – Jamie Lober is nobody’s fool. She is professional and matter-of-fact but one of the most sincere people you could meet. After earning a master’s in health psychology some years ago she expanded her interest in women’s health to general wellness in order to touch the entire population instead of just a pocket.
Lober is President of Talk Health with Jamie, Inc. and runs with the slogan #1 source for wellness information. She knows the ropes of the nonprofit world quite well as she serves as the Public Relations Chairman for two of the leading healthcare nonprofits, the American Cancer Society – South Palm Beach Chapter and the March of Dimes – Palm Beach Division. She has also become one of the top recognized voices on rare cancer awareness in the nation on behalf of her father. “When you talk from the heart, you find that people listen,” said Lober.
As for what she wants to tell the Caribbean community, Lober affirms that she is the best voice they could have because of her lengthy background in women’s health, fluency in Spanish and love of literature and culture. “It is a misconception that the Caribbean is plagued by infectious diseases; the real issues are violence and sexually transmitted diseases,” said Lober.
Lober jokes that it is not so bad because people can take control of some lifestyle and environmental factors and hopefully bring about a change. “You used to hear about pure water supply and immunizations and everyone would talk about curative approaches like antibiotics but I prefer to talk about taking ownership of your health behavior,” said Lober. Safe sex seems to be one of the first things that come to mind. “A high percentage of youth are sexually active and have multiple partners, so we have to start talking about contraception and HIV/AIDS,” said Lober.
With clear ambition to hit the national stage, Lober names sexual assault as an issue that needs addressing. “A lot of statistics tell that one in three women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime and less than fifty percent of these instances are reported to the police which goes back to the notion of my book Pink Power: We Girls Can Do Anything!, that women need to have the confidence to fight back,” said Lober. She goes on to reference attitudes and beliefs in society that need changing. “As a woman you have to believe you are an equal member in society, respect personal boundaries, hold others accountable for their actions and never remain silent if you witness or are a victim of sexual violence,” said Lober. Lober finds that recent news headlines have honed in on date and acquaintance rape as well as abductions that she feels may be avoidable. “People need to get off the internet and be careful who they meet online because if someone says they live in a gated community, unfortunately they could be referring to a jail,” said Lober.
In South Florida where people move around frequently, Lober tells that everyone has to be careful – and she really means everyone. “In all seriousness, there are news stories here of women using date rape drugs on men so I am not just speaking to women,” said Lober. She speaks of the importance of modeling healthy behaviors and good communication. “I would say that men should watch their language particularly the use of derogatory terms for females; they should try not to fund sexism by buying magazines or videos that portray girls in a sexually degrading or inferior manner; and they should be able to talk openly about sex,” said Lober. Lober closes the discussion by stating that the idea of masculinity goes back to culture and people should take a look at gender inequality and causes of gender violence because they should not be tolerated.
Seeming completely comfortable with the often taboo subjects that she so openly tackled, it is obvious that Lober is opinionated and no stranger to the political world. The only difference is, unlike many politicians, she finds herself welcomed by throngs of listeners and is always taken seriously. Attending gatherings with lots of security guards and speaking on stages in large cities where she goes from not knowing a soul to leaving a powerful footprint on the hearts and minds of the people is commonplace for her. With unusual ambition and experiences for her age, Lober tells that the story did not unravel as easily as it is often portrayed. “I had lots of doors slammed in my face but it just meant that I had to jump out of some windows and keep trying,” said Lober. She makes two cases for the work continues to devotedly do.
First, Lober leans on her moral convictions. “The reason I have put myself out there to promote better birth outcomes, improve research and quality of life for patients with cancer and talk about health in general across the lifespan is because of my respect for life regardless of age, race, health status, religion, born or unborn,” said Lober. While the pro-life movement is clearly a topic that she is passionate about, Lober explains that she did not invent it. “Thomas Jefferson said that the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government and I am just carrying on that quest,” said Lober.
Second, she credits her father. “He unintentionally changed my whole direction and calling in life,” said Lober. She named speaking to a crowd of thousands at a rare disease day event in our nation’s capital as one of the most moving and memorable experiences of her professional life. “To see healthcare professionals, drug developers, public health authorities, researchers and patient organizations all together in one room joining hands really shows that individually rare disease may be rare but together there is hope,” said Lober. Despite having a very good idea of where she comes from and where she is going, Lober refuses to pinpoint a single person or event that motivates her to continue her victorious efforts. “You do not need a reason to help people,” said Lober.
As for her personal life, Lober explained that despite a rough heartbreak that everyone she wants in her life is currently there. “I would say I am pretty values-driven but my supportive parents and handful of really special people in my life keep me having fun and motivated to keep up the work I started in my college years,” said Lober. She finds that you should not have expectations because then you can never be disappointed and that you have to just follow your heart. “You have to be in things for yourself and your own happiness whether it is a relationship or a cause because there comes a time when you have to stop jumping oceans for people who will not even jump a puddle for you,” said Lober.
Coming across as heartfelt yet assertive, Lober tells that her experiences since relocating to South Florida about three years ago have hardened her and she feels this is for the best since she has her eyes set on politics.
Extremely conservative yet open-minded as they come, Lober is unique and attests it to her roots. “My grandpa and I had a lot in common; he taught acceptance, the importance of always learning new things and how to be tough and overcome challenges like loss,” said Lober. She goes on to say that she admires him and wants to lead the way he would. Asked if she has a good luck charm, Lober tells that she has many. “Almost every item in my jewelry box has a story behind it and that is because I met a lot of people who believed in me,” said Lober. The trust people place in her must be contagious because as we wrap up the conversation by asking Lober’s beliefs on how healthcare should be, since that tends to be her go-to topic, she does not hesitate one bit. “I want to promote the patient-doctor relationship, competition, healthcare quality and choice while seeing that reforms take place to lower costs, end lawsuit abuse and get the quality that people deserve,” said Lober. She feels the best way to turn her vision into a reality is by realizing her dream to serve in the U.S. Senate when she turns 35 – and from our short but thorough encounter, we would have to say that she has what it takes.