My Kind of Medicine: Real Lives of Practicing Internists: Officer Profiles: Molly Cooke, MD, FACP & Charles Cutler, MD, FACP

My Kind of Medicine: Real Lives of Practicing Internists: Officer Profiles: Molly Cooke, MD, FACP & Charles Cutler, MD, FACP

Name: Molly Cooke, MD, FACP
ACP President

Current Occupation: Professor of Medicine and Director of Education for Global Health Sciences, University of California San Francisco

Medical School: Stanford University School of Medicine

Residence: San Francisco, CA

Dr. Cooke and her husband Paul Volberding, MD, FACP, vacationing in Rome.

I was born and raised . . . on the East Coast, outside Philadelphia where I went to school through ninth grade. After that, I moved to go to school outside Baltimore, Maryland.

As a child I was . . . pretty quiet and shy. I read a lot and, because we lived in the country, spent lots of time outside.

I decided to be a doctor . . . at age fifteen or sixteen. My senior year independent project had to do with models of incorporating parents into the care of their hospitalized children, with an observership at Johns Hopkins. However, my family was not enthusiastic and I was quite ambivalent.

What I find most rewarding about my career is . . . it's very diverse and endlessly interesting. My activities span from direct patient care, to medical education, to health systems improvement, to health policy and advocacy to global health. Never a dull moment.

I'm good at what I do because . . . Hmmm, you might have to ask someone else. My guesses are: 1) I am hard-working; 2) I try to be fair and to give credit for successes, while taking responsibility for things that don't go well and; 3) I also have pretty good emotional intelligence, so it is not difficult for me to see others' points of view, even if I don't agree with it at all.

I joined ACP because . . . Dr. Nora Goldschlager, medicine's "She who must be obeyed", told me to so I did.

An award or achievement I am proud of . . . I published a book, Educating Physicians: A Call for Reform of Medical School and Residency, with two colleagues in 2010. I have gotten some nice prizes including the Holly Smith Prize for Exceptional Service to the School of Medicine in 2012, named after another of my heroes in internal medicine. But really, I am most proud of my 33 year marriage and my three grown children, all doing well.

I like people who . . . are mission-driven, modest, and have a good, ideally great, sense of humor.

I am annoyed by . . . people who are sloppy or lazy in patient care (or anything else, for that matter), people who look for someone else to blame when things go poorly, people who text while walking in cross-walks. Surely Facebook can wait until you get out of the street!

My family includes . . . my husband, Paul Volberding (MD, FACP) and our three kids, Alex 31, just starting law school at UCLA (yippee - another opportunity to pay tuition!), Ben 29, an engineer who works for the City of San Francisco building a ginormous tunnel under Chinatown, and Emily 25, who has just moved back to San Francisco with her boyfriend and is looking for a job. No physicians ;- ( We also have three cats who are engaged in a sustained cooperative project to destroy all of our furniture.

My interests/hobbies are . . . numerous: knitting, reading, especially contemporary novels, exercise of any type, especially hiking and skiing, memorizing poetry.

I enjoy listening to . . . NPR and all kinds of music. Paul and I got together in the late 70's as enthusiastic aficionados of punk and we still listen to a lot of new music and like to go to little clubs, where we are not uncommonly twenty-five years older than the mean age.

I enjoy watching . . . my cats (really!) and any good movie, especially if we have made the effort to actually go to a movie theatre. Also, Game of Thrones.

My idea of a great vacation is . . . Any vacation is a great vacation. We love to travel. Places I haven't been yet and would love to get to know include southern India, western China and western and northern Africa. This summer I am taking a week off and staying home - I'll catch up on mending, straighten out some closets and high-clean the kitchen. I'll like that too.

Something others may not know about me is . . . well, I think that everyone knows this, but I am a rabid San Francisco Giants fan. I even had the nerve to wear a Giants jersey into ACP headquarters at Sixth and Race, but I wasn't brave enough to wear it openly on the street - Phillies fans are crazy!

If I could be anything other than a physician I would be . . . don't know, perhaps a writer like my mother.

A person I greatly admire is/was . . . lots of people: my father, my husband Paul, Chuck Cutler, my counterpart as chair of the Board of Regents, some women who chose medicine when it was really difficult - Virginia Apgar and Helen Taussig, for example, Sonia Sotomayor, Abraham Lincoln ….


Name: Charles Cutler, MD, FACP
ACP Chair, Board of Regents

Current Occupation: Specialist, Internal Medicine

Medical School: Temple University School of Medicine

Residence: Merion Station, PA

Dr. Culter and his family

Dr. Cutler with his wife and three daughters: left to right, Ali, Dr. Cutler, Stacey, wife Bev, and Jennie.

I was born and raised in . . . Philadelphia, PA

As a child I was . . . lucky to connect with a group of friends in grade school. More than 50 years later we travel, vacation, and dine together on a regular schedule. We tell the same childhood stories over and over. They get funnier as the years go by.

I decided to be a doctor . . . in college. First day freshman year, a test at the career counseling center revealed that I had the wrong personality to be a physician. For fun, I decided to prove them wrong.

I chose internal medicine because . . . I wanted a broad knowledge base before deciding which medical subspecialty was right for me. I'm still trying to decide.

What I find most rewarding about my career is . . . that patients, sometimes complete strangers, trust me with the most important details and decisions of their lives.

I'm good at what I do because . . . of my passion, persistence & patience.

An award or achievement I am proud of . . . I ran in a 5-K race and beat my US Congressman.

My advice to medical students is . . . take a year off. Travel on a low budget.

My family includes . . . my wife and three daughters. Three sons-in-law, too. All different and all great guys.

My interests/hobbies are . . . anything done outdoors. Biking is at the top of the list. Jogging is #2.

I enjoy listening to . . . Molly Cooke, ACP President. Great voice and I learn something new with each conversation.

I enjoy watching . . . commercials during the Super Bowl. Madison Avenue's finest hour.

Something others may not know about me is . . . most nights I have the same dinner: imported extra virgin olive oil, artichokes, and feta cheese. Add tomato, lettuce, and carrots. Nothing better!

If I could be anything other than a physician I would be . . . a judge on the US Supreme Court.

A person I greatly admire is/was . . . Sacagawea. The single most important guide and interpreter during the exploration of the American west; all accomplished as a teenager.

Back to July 2013 Issue of IMpact

More Articles Like This