As a general internist, I am broadly trained in adult medicine. One of the great advantages of training as an internist is the perspective gained by combining a deep knowledge base with the experiential skills of diagnosis, evaluation and treatment.
After medical school, I was a resident and Chief at Hennepin County Medical Center, the central receiving hospital for Minneapolis. “The General,” as it is known to the locals, has a long history of delivering vital services to the entire upper Midwest in an expansive facility with many intensive care beds and specialty services. Those of us fortunate enough to train there learned by doing, by assuming responsibility, and working hard.
I loved it, and my group of 16 ranked in the top 5 of 385 internal medicine programs around the country as gauged by the American Board of Internal Medicine Certification exams in 1984.
Before I started medical school, I applied for a United States Public Health Service/National Health Service Corps Scholarship. In return for financial support, I agreed to work for 4 years in a health-underserved area after residency.
My assignment was in Eastern Kentucky, and it proved a richly rewarding and interesting time. Much of my attention during those years was focused on HIV, then a new and devastating illness.
I was also an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky Medical School from 1986 to 1989.
Following the Public Health Service, I took a job with the Harvard Community Health Plan in Boston. I wanted to know more about computers and medicine, and they were one of the first organizations with an electronic medical record. Three other physicians and I opened a new center for them on Copley Square.
I had the good fortune to be a Clinical Instructor for Harvard Medical School, teaching house staff and students at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
In 1992, we moved west to Edmonds, and I began Edmonds Internal Medicine with an established local internist, Paul O’Brien, who also happened to have trained at “The General” 20 years earlier.
Our 14-year working relationship was wonderful. Paul retired in 2006, and I remain to hold down the fort.
I have pursued many other interests over the years, from taking sick call at the Hennepin County Jail to staffing emergency rooms in rural Minnesota and Kentucky, and working with the professional Ski Patrol at Stevens Pass to aid and evacuate injured skiers. I’ve also been active in several board positions in South Snohomish County, working with others to make the most of this lovely region.
My experiences inform my practice. The longer I do my work, the more impressed I am at the complex relationships of place, illness, mind and heart, and the great value of not just the right medication, but a timely word and a generous community of support.