Pivotal moments in GI: 4 gastroenterologists share the turning points of their career

Four gastroenterologists discuss some of the most important moments in their career.

Ask a Gastroenterologist is a weekly series of questions posed to GI physicians around the country on business and clinical issues affecting the field of gastroenterology. We invite all gastroenterologists to submit responses.
Next week's question: What do you think the field of gastroenterology will look like 10 years from now?

Please submit responses to Carrie Pallardy at cpallardy@beckershealthcare.com by Thursday, March 5, at 5 p.m. CST.

Larry Good, MD, FACG, founder, CEO Good Pharmaceutical Development, CEO, Compassionate Care Center of New York: The most important and pivotal event in my career occurred several years ago when, after three decades of uninterrupted dedication to excellence in patient care, I was given the opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience to consulting work in new product pharmaceutical development.
Although I remain fully engaged and committed to my wonderful and often devoted patients, I have found new excitement and intellectual stimulation in this field. This interest has resulted in a renewed incentive for clinical research, development of publications in the medical literature and has, I think, made me more creative as a physician.

I have developed enough confidence to form a private company, Good Pharmaceutical Development Company, LLC, with a mission of developing novel applications of known technologies. These experiences have also allowed me the opportunity to assume the position of CEO of Compassionate Care Center of NY, a growing team pursuing a license for the production and distribution of medicinal cannabis in New York State under the guidance of a recently passed law. Our development plan includes a commitment to retrospective analysis of clinical data collected from patients across a spectrum of diagnoses, pairing concentrations of cannabinoids and THC to specific disease states and developing a platform for evidence based guidelines for the treatment of a variety of unmet medical needs. A very exciting inspiration indeed!

Julie C. Servoss, MD, MPH, Medical Director, EMA Gastroenterology, Modernizing Medicine: I feel fortunate to have had an incredibly fulfilling career, although the most important event thus far has been the opportunity to work at Modernizing Medicine and be part of a company that embodies what I enjoy most - innovation and medicine. Before Modernizing Medicine, my career had followed the traditional academic medicine path - medical school, residency, fellowship, MPH, etc. I was at the precipice of attaining my goal of becoming a budding NIH funded clinical researcher but found myself yearning for something more. I wanted a more creative outlet and an opportunity to bring innovation to medicine.

My first venture into innovation was my work in medical education and diversity initiatives at a new medical school in South Florida, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. Creating cultural competency, art and humanities curricula, as well as developing pipeline programs to mentor junior scientists and physicians in our community, have been rewarding. Once my initiatives fully matured, I found myself wondering how I could continue to help transform our field. And then Modernizing Medicine knocked at my door. The company’s mission to transform healthcare at the intersection of medicine and technology with a specialty-specific electronic health record system gave me an opportunity to learn software coding and build a GI-specific EHR system that improves physician efficiency. A win-win-win proposition! As physicians, we take great pride in and embrace biomedical technology. Now, with Modernizing Medicine, I have the opportunity to help my fellow physicians embrace information technology as the next transformative step in how we deliver care to our patients and improve our practice of medicine.

Prabhakar Swaroop, MD, Hutchinson (Kan.) Clinic: For me it would be working with a mentor. When I was a second year resident, I got to meet one of the GI fellows in the program who was interested in the basic science of colorectal cancer and worked in the lab of a leading colon cancer researcher. I liked the experience so much that I continued to work in the lab through my chief residency as well as during my fellowship. For me, finding the right mentor was by far the most important event in my career.

Patrick Takahashi, MD, CMIO and Chief of Gastroenterology Section of St. Vincent Medical Center (Los Angeles): The most important event in my career so far was my appointment as Chief Medical Information Officer. This truly gave me a different perspective of medicine from an administrative standpoint, enhancing my ability to ration care even more effectively to my patients. The exposure was not only from a technological standpoint, but from a workflow one as well. It has helped me understand the up-and-coming changes which will accompany value based medicine.

For instance, most recently the hospital rolled out a regulatory measure to justify the medical necessity for colonoscopy follow-up on its post procedure documentation. The implementation of this measure was very smooth, largely in part due to the smooth interaction between physicians, nursing, and the Quality Department of the hospital. This ability to understand the challenges which physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff face on a daily basis have shed alacrity on ways to assist the hospital in its endeavor to maintain the highest quality of care possible.  

More articles on gastroenterology:
GI physician leader to know: Dr. Peter Dragonov of University of Florida Health
Dr. John Allen travels to Capitol Hill to advocate for GI issues
Dr. Adam Mezoff: How to successfully juggle physician leadership roles

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