Be­fore they were doc­tors, they were ...

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

Mas­ters of il­lu­sion, col­lege mas­cots and dairy farm­ers—those are a few of the pur­suits some of to­day’s most in­flu­en­tial doc­tors dab­bled in be­fore they be­came lead­ers in medicine.

“We thought it was im­por­tant to see how di­verse and in­ter­est­ing the jour­ney to hos­pi­tal medicine could be,” said Dr. Larry Wel­lik­son, pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety of Hos­pi­tal Medicine. Since June, the group’s pod­cast “Be­fore the White Coat” has delved into the past lives of more than a dozen health­care lead­ers, with Wel­lik­son as host.

Ev­ery­one has to start some­where. For Dr. John Nel­son, it was as a “very ac­tive mem­ber” of the In­ter­na­tional Broth­er­hood of Ma­gi­cians. “That was my first ex­po­sure to a pro­fes­sional so­ci­ety,” Nel­son joked. He’s now rec­og­nized as one of the found­ing ar­chi­tects of the hos­pi­tal­ist move­ment.

Medicine wasn’t al­ways th­ese lead­ers’ first pas­sion. “I thought I was go­ing to ded­i­cate the rest of my life to as­tron­omy,” said Dr. Nasim Af­sar­manesh. The as­so­ciate chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of qual­ity and safety at UCLA Health still keeps the stacks of As­tron­omy mag­a­zine that she treated “like gold” as a mid­dleschool stu­dent.

A new pod­cast episode is posted ev­ery two weeks. Up­com­ing episodes will in­clude Dr. Pa­trick Caw­ley, CEO of the Med­i­cal Univer­sity of South Carolina, and Dr. Gre­gory May­nard, di­rec­tor of the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Diego’s Cen­ter for In­no­va­tion and Im­prove­ment Science.

Recorded pod­casts to date have fea­tured CMS Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer Dr. Pa­trick Con­way, who con­sid­ered the Peace Corps and Teach For Amer­ica af­ter col­lege; UCSF Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s Dr. Robert Wachter, who many al­ready know was the Quaker mas­cot at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia; and Tu­lane Univer­sity’s Dr. Jef­frey Wiese, who was raised on a dairy farm and de­scribed ris­ing early to tend to the cat­tle as an “in­cred­i­bly painful ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Above, for­mer ma­gi­cian Dr. John Nel­son; left, Dr. Robert Wachter as the Penn mas­cot.

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