By Sondra Barr
Travis Stork, MD, ER physician, and the host of the award winning syndicated television program The Doctors, is having a moment. Fresh off wrapping up the 11th season of his Emmy-nominated medical talk show, in August Dr. Stork tied the knot with his girlfriend of three years, lawyer Parris Bell. He’s been basking in the resulting endorphins since.
Of course, the self-described adrenaline junkie’s marriage to Bell left scores of women across the country distraught. Stork, 47, the former star of ABC’s long-running prime-time dating juggernaut, The Bachelor, is officially off the market.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have the chance to be under his ministration. If you happen to end up in a Nashville-area emergency room, you may find yourself under the handsome doctor’s care. When not in Hollywood tapping The Doctors, Stork practices emergency room medicine and lives in Nashville. Where, according to reports, his colleagues call him ‘Doc Hollywood.’
Surprisingly, Stork never intended to be a doctor or a television star. First, he was an actuarial scientist working in Washington D.C. After graduating from Duke University magna cum laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society, he found himself pouring over numbers and research but longing for more human interaction.
“I just was never meant to be someone who was sitting all day in front of a computer,” he told Chris Parton with Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. To feel more in tune with the community, on his off time he volunteered at a Washington free clinic, which inspired Stork to earn a medical degree with honors from the University of Washington, where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha.
“Even though I was good at math, I feel like that (volunteer clinic) experience showed me that you can use science and also have the personal element.
During his emergency medicine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, Stork appeared on Season 8 of The Bachelor. Stork later revealed how he landed as the star of the popular ABC show in a 2016 episode of The Doctors.
“I went to dinner with my ER colleagues and a person came up to me from The Bachelor and hung out with our group of ER friends and was buying beverages,” Stork recollects. “The next thing you know, I’m literally in Paris as The Bachelor.”
During the season finale of the dating show, Stork handed schoolteacher Sarah Stone the final rose. Seven days after the program’s pre-taped finale aired, the couple called it quits. Stork went on to complete his residency before working in the emergency departments at Vanderbilt and then a hospital in Colorado, although he grappled with the tremendous recognition his stint as the bachelor generated.
“What I didn’t expect was coming back and then feeling like I had to justify all the hard work I had put in,” he told Meredith B. Kile for ET Online. “I worked really hard in med school and residency. My record speaks for itself.”
Although he didn’t find his soul mate on The Bachelor, the heartthrob doctor’s time spent “interviewing” potential mates was not for naught. By the time he landed a spot on The Doctors, Stork was not only a board –certified emergency medicine physician, he was a seasoned television personality whose easy going demeanor and frank approach to uncomfortable topics made him a natural fit for a daytime talk show.
The Doctors premiered in 2009. The brainchild of Jay McGraw, the son of Dr. Phil McGraw, a psychologist who was a regular on Oprah before starring on Dr. Phil, the show combines entertainment with legitimate medical information.
On The Doctors, Stork heads a panel of three other physicians in the fields of pediatrics, plastic surgery, and obstetrics/gynecology. The quartet presents their knowledge in an entertaining way and educates viewers on how to live healthier lives. In eleven seasons, the group has tackled myriad issues from the mundane to the sensational. Recent episodes explored topics ranging from rare skin diseases, gym germs, dating behind bars, and a medical condition that causes public pooping, interspersed with viewers’ phone calls and e-mail queries.
“What I try to do on the show is teach and share with people all of the little things they can do to improve their health,” said Stork in an interview. “I think our show has really empowered people. Viewers tell me they feel more knowledgeable and more excited about their health rather than intimidated or even terrified.”
According to a New York Times article by Brian Stelter written a few months after the show’s release, as the creator of the show, McGraw’s priority was to feature physicians who regularly see patients rather than ones who spend all their time on television.
McGraw attributed the show’s success to “allowing them to be doctors and videotaping it.” The show has gone on to win the 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show/Informative and has been nominated six times in the category. Meanwhile, Stork and his co-hosts received back-to-back Emmy nominations for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2011 and 2012.
Stork has parlayed his medical and television success into publishing as well. Stork is the New York Times #1 bestselling author of The Doctor Is In: A 7-Step Prescription for Optimal Wellness, The Lean Belly Prescription, The Doctor’s Diet, and The Lose Your Belly Diet––Change Your Gut, Change Your Life.
The Amazon summary of The Doctor’s Diet says, it’s the “solution to unhealthy eating, an American epidemic with a death toll higher than that of car accidents, drug abuse, smoking, and gun violence combined. Here, Dr. Stork offers a flexible and workable diet plan that addresses this health crisis by helping you lose weight, restore your health, and ultimately add years to your life.”
While promoting his book, The Doctor Is In: A 7-Step Prescription for Optimal Wellness, Stork sat down with CBN.com to share his philosophy on health. “You have to be your own health guru; you have to be the CEO of your health. Treat it like a job.”
“People in their 20s needs to realize that chronic illness starts its progression in your younger years. Heart disease doesn’t start in your 50s. That’s why making health switches––like eating whole grains in place of refined carbohydrates––when you’re young is important.”
It’s advice that Stork himself heeds. While not a vegetarian, he incorporates five to six smaller meals into his day. From whole grain cereals to lean proteins, healthy fats, and good carbs, he also makes sure to add foods high in fiber to the mix.
In addition to a healthy diet, Stork consistently stresses the importance of exercise. In an interview with journalist Diana Kelly, Stork said, “With society as sedentary as it is, it’s important to be walking. Even 10 minutes after every meal adds up to 30 minutes a day.
Stork also stresses finding an active hobby. “We’re genetically programmed to enjoy activities. I’d venture a guess there is some activity out there for all of us. For me it’s biking. Don’t stop until you find an activity you enjoy, commit to it, and just like everything, schedule it.”
The first doctor in his family, Stork takes the profession seriously. “During med school, I kept a journal of the type of doctor I wanted to be. One of the first things I wrote was ‘Whenever you’re with a patient, put them at ease.’ If you walk in and you’re like, ‘Okay, what’s going on?’ it’s very different from pulling up a stool, sitting, and saying, ‘Miss Watkins, I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. How can I help you?’ Stork explained to Prevention Magazine.
“If you’re present, a patient can tell––even if you’re busy or if they’re calling you over to Trauma Bay One. The same thing is true of friendships or hosting a television show.”