You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Become a Fellow
ACP offers a number of resources to help members make sense of the MOC requirements and earn points.
Understanding MOC Requirements
Earn MOC points
The most comprehensive meeting in Internal Medicine.
April 11-13, 2019
Internal Medicine Meeting 2019
Prepare for the Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
Exam with an ACP review course.
Board Certification Review Courses
MOC Exam Prep Courses
Treating a patient? Researching a topic? Get answers now.
Visit AnnalsLearn More
Visit MKSAP 17 Learn More
Visit DynaMed Plus
Ensure payment and avoid policy violations. Plus, new resources to help you navigate the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
Access helpful forms developed by a variety of sources for patient charts, logs, information sheets, office signs, and use by practice administration.
ACP advocates on behalf on internists and their patients on a number of timely issues. Learn about where ACP stands on the following areas:
© Copyright 2018 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved. 190 North Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572
Toll Free: (800) 523.1546 · Local: (215) 351.2400
As a teenager, Dr. Christopher Mays had long blond hair that
hung to the middle of his back, little academic ambition, and
notions of becoming a rock star or professional athlete. But by the
time he graduated from high school, that boy was long gone,
replaced by a reflective, deeply faithful, and purposeful young man
who dreamed of doing something useful with his life. That something
turned out to be internal medicine.
The catalyst for the transformation was a failing kidney which
landed him in the hospital for four major operations between the
ages of 12 and 18. The experience was trying yet defining, as it
served as his introduction to the field of medicine. "I was in the
hospital a lot," he says, "and so I ended up developing a
relationship with my surgeon. I liked him and knowing him had a
positive effect on me. Around the same time I also began to grow in
other ways. Religious faith became important to me, and I saw in
medicine the opportunity to serve people and utilize my faith as
Dr. Christopher Mays with his family
Dr. Mays says one of the best things about practicing internal
medicine is being tested. As he explains, most of what an internist
faces every day is the result of multiple systems interacting with
each other, creating multiple problems. "There is a
stereotype—they say that internists think and surgeons do,"
he says, "and that’s fine with me. I like the fact that I am
the one who is able to figure it out."
Getting to that point required commitment. For Dr. Mays, that
meant medical school at the University of Maryland followed by
residency at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. As
is the case with most physicians, his training was not
one-dimensional. For example, it was one of his mentors during his
introduction to clinical practice, whom he credits for teaching him
how to perform a physical exam and conduct a patient interview. "It
was because of him that I really began to understand how to
integrate all of the systems in the body and put them all
together," he says. "I admired this guy because of his ability to
teach us this in a way we understood."
Dr. Mays practices medicine in the same area where he grew up
and went to school, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a suburb of
Washington, D.C. His familiarity with the community has been a
benefit to him as an internist who owns his own practice, allowing
him the unique opportunity of knowing many of his patients well,
something he cherishes greatly. "I like the continuity of the care
I give," he explains, "I like the stimulation the work gives me. I
like having relationships with my patients, treating the whole
family, and being there for all of the major events in their
His affectionate and generous nature extends beyond the office.
He works with local hospital leadership staff and also as medical
director for a local nursing home. He recognizes the very real need
for quality care in such facilities, and he sees patients as
people, not cases. "A lot of people still need care when they leave
the hospital," he explains. "And the elderly have many medical
needs—some have many needs, while others are just frail.
I’m glad I can be a part of that."
As a teenager and later as a medical student, Dr. Mays was
influenced and guided by mentors and others who had a positive
effect on him. For example, during his junior year rotation, he
identified strongly with his attending. "He was kind of a younger
guy so I related to him because of his age," recalls Dr. Mays. "I
thought he was very, very smart and he possessed a genuine
compassion for patients. I was still very impressionable at this
point, you know, and I thought he was awesome."
Now, as a well established physician running his own private
practice, the 46-year-old is filling the role himself. Eight years
ago, a senior high school boy named Luke came to Dr. Mays and asked
him if he could observe him at his practice. He was outgoing, had
an easy smile, and aspirations to be a physician. Dr. Mays agreed,
and soon recognized qualities in the 18-year-old that impressed
him. "Even at that time, I could see qualities in him that would
make him a great internist," he says. "His thinking processes were
logical, he had compassion for others, and he was a skilled
communicator." Luke went to college and when it was time to apply
to medical school, he again returned to Dr. Mays, asking him to
write a recommendation letter to the admissions director, who
ironically had been a mentor of his. He was happy to oblige. "I
said in the letter that you couldn’t ask for a better
student," he recalls. Three years later, Luke has returned to Dr.
Mays as he prepares to apply for internship and residency.
His commitment to young people resonates on more personal
levels: as a youth group leader with his church, a role he shares
with his wife, Jean, and as a father to three daughters. The middle
daughter, 14-year-old Janelle, is a cross country runner, just like
her dad used to be when he was her age. He admits he enjoys this
because it reminds him of a time in his own life that was so
special. Some thirty years ago when Dr. Mays himself was on the
team, he and his teammates had to run a daily route that took them
past a house across the street from the school. There was a girl
named Jean who lived inside the house, who was two years younger
than Dr. Mays. Although she remembers seeing him running past her
house every day, Dr. Mays insists she did not think much of him at
the time. Eventually however, he won her over and the two began
dating while in high school. Just as surely as he decided on
medicine as his chosen profession, he knew that Jean was a keeper.
"She was pretty, fun to be around and made me laugh," he says.
Now currently in his senior year of medical school and newly
married, Luke, Dr. Mays’ protégé, is ready to
pick a career. Dr. Mays hopes it will be as an internist.
"It’s been so rewarding just to watch him, all the way from
high school until now," he says. "It’s been nice to know him
in other ways as well—my wife and I even give them advice
about marriage. I would like to see him pursue internal medicine
since he is such a great physician—and my dream is that he
would come work with me in my practice, but we’ll see."
Dr. Mays leads a full life, surrounded by and working with
people he loves and enjoys. He tries his best to bring something
unique to each of their lives, and seems to be rewarded for it with
happiness. He says being an internist has allowed him to live the
life he wants, which for Dr. Mays is a life shared with others. "I
could talk for hours about what I find rewarding about being an
internist," he says, "but knowing someone like Luke and being able
to teach him and watch him grow has been one of the best
December 2010 Issue of IMpact
Articles Like This