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David A. Fleming, MD, MA, FACP
Professor of Medicine and Chairman, Department of Medicine,
University of Missouri School of Medicine
University of Missouri
1. I was born and raised . . . in Moberly, MO, a small rural
community of about 13,000 in North Central Missouri.
2. As a child I was . . . very active. I spent a lot of time
outside, was involved in sports, music, church, and Boy Scouts. As
the youngest of four siblings, I learned how to be nimble and run
fast, which kept me out of trouble and helped me do well in
3. I first decided to be a doctor . . . when very young. My
father and great uncle were both internists in my hometown and were
amazing role models for me. I saw how hard they worked and loved
listening to their stories. They were incredibly knowledgeable and
had very special relationships with their patients. Their gift of
service was like no other. I knew I wanted to be like them.
4. The persons who influenced me the most . . . when I was
young-my amazing parents, grandparents, and great uncle ("Uncle
Doc"), but also my football coach, Jerry Bolan. All of them taught
me the importance of honesty, commitment, and hard work. In later
years, I was influenced by several mentors: Dr. Roger DeRoos, my
histology and endocrinology professor during my undergraduate years
who encouraged me to embrace the wonder and importance of
knowledge; Dr. Charles Mengel, my chair of medicine in residency,
who later joined me in practice for several years, and who taught
me to be an internist, to continue learning, and pay meticulous
attention to detail; Dr. Dan Winship, another mentor in residency
with whom I formed a deep and abiding friendship over the years,
who introduced me to bioethics, taught me the importance of
passion, commitment to ideals, and how to always land on my feet;
Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, my mentor at Georgetown with whom I also
formed a deep friendship, and who opened the scholarly world of
bioethics to me, taught me how to write and argue well, and in
doing so, changed my life forever; and of course, my wife and soul
mate, Dr. Karen Edison, who continues to believe in me, who
challenges and encourages me to be fearless, and on a daily basis
shows me how deeply one can love and at the same time deploy the
amazing gift of a brilliant mind (hers).
5. I chose internal medicine because . . . of the rigorous
training, the depth and breadth of knowledge, and the skills
required to be an internist. I knew I was going to do primary care
in a small rural community following residency and I wanted to be
well-trained and prepared for the complexity and intellectual
challenges that followed. Being an internist has given me numerous
opportunities-to care for very complicated patients, to serve as a
leader at multiple levels, and become an effective clinician
educator. I have always felt that internists are the "Delta Force"
of medicine, the ones who get called in when things get
complicated. A bit theatrical perhaps, but I have actually found
this to be true in both private and academic practice and have
never ceased to be challenged and fulfilled by my profession.
6. What I find most rewarding about my career . . . is that I
have been able to do so much with it. I have enjoyed a long and
very fulfilling practice as a general internist, geriatrician, and
clinician educator. My greatest reward over the years has been the
healing relationships I have had with patients and the mentoring
relationships with students, residents, and colleagues. Being an
internist is an amazing profession.
7. I'm good at what I do because . . . I have been trained well
and I have been mentored well. Those who have gone before have
shown the way.
8. I joined ACP because . . . it is the professional
organization that represents the ideals of internal medicine as a
profession. This organization, like no other, has offered me the
opportunity to advocate for substantive issues at both the state
and national level, teach and participate in lifelong learning, to
be a mentor, and provide leadership at many levels.
9. An award I am most proud of . . . is the Jane Hickman Teacher
of the Year Award that I received a few years ago in recognition of
my efforts in medical education. It is an honor to be recognized in
this way by my colleagues and peers at the University of Missouri
School of Medicine. The professional accomplishment I am most proud
of is building and leading a strong internal medicine group in my
hometown that served the community for many years, and the personal
accomplishment I am most proud of is fathering two amazing children
who have since graced our lives with 5 (soon to be 6)
10. My advice to medical students is . . . keep your eyes on the
ball, stay nimble, and always find a way to land on your feet. You
are one of few who have the physician's mantle placed on your
shoulders. It can feel heavy at times, but it also enables and
empowers you-use your powers prudently and with compassion. Let the
mantle serve as a reminder of the gift you have been given to serve
and of the special place you hold as a physician.
11. I like people who . . . move forward with confidence and
kindness toward others, and who are prepared.
12. Our family includes . . . two adult children, five (soon to
be six) grandchildren, my mother-in-law, our "little" yellow lab
Tessa who has never met a stranger, and many dear friends,
neighbors, and colleagues.
13. My interests/hobbies include . . . exercise, skiing, hiking,
reading (biographies, history, and fiction), and sharing good food
and wine with friends and family. My wife and I love to cook. I
also love to travel and experience new lands, people, and
14. If I had the time . . . I would like to become fluent in
Spanish and French and I'd like to learn how to cook well.
15. I enjoy listening to . . . NPR, a good lecture, memorable
stories, and music (mostly classical).
16. I enjoy watching . . . a good movie, sports of any kind, and
public television (Masterpiece Theater, travel and cooking
17. My idea of a great vacation is . . . one that allows me to
be with family and requires me to be active. I particularly like
trips that offer biking, skiing, or hiking.
18. Something others may not know about me . . . is that I tend
to be emotive, especially when experiencing meaningful events or
talking about things or people important to me.
19. If I could be anything other than a physician . . . It would
be fun to play professional handball, or pursue a career as a
conservation agent. I have always loved rigorous sports and
ACP Chair, Board of Regents:
Robert M. Centor, MD, FACP
Professor of Internal Medicine and Regional Dean
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Huntsville Regional Medical
1. I was born and raised . . . born in New York City, raised in
Marion, Virginia from age 5-14, then moved to Richmond, Virginia to
finish high school.
2. As a child I was . . .addicted to basketball.
3. I decided to be a doctor . . . between my second and third
year of college, after working that summer with emotionally
disturbed children at a children's psychiatric hospital.
4. The person(s) who influenced me the most . . . my father, a
5. I chose internal medicine because . . . During my first week
on the Internal Medicine rotation, I found out that I was an
internist. I did not choose internal medicine as much as I
discovered who I was. Solving diagnostic problems, communicating
with patients, and striving to help patients were some of my
reasons. Internal medicine offers a perfect mix of "left brain and
right brain" activities, and I love that.
6. What I find most rewarding about my career is . . . teaching
students and residents. When you see the "light bulb" turn on and
you realize the learner understands the beauty of internal
7. I'm good at what I do because . . . my vocation has become my
8. I joined ACP because . . . I am an internist. ACP is our
9. An award or achievement I am proud of . . . the University of
Alabama at Birmingham Presidential Teaching Award.
10. My advice to medical students is . . . figure out what you
like and what you love. Train in the specialty that you love.
11. I like people who . . . respect others.
12. My family includes . . . my wife Freda (40th anniversary
this past year), our daughter, son-in-law and their 2 sons, our
son, and our dog Hobbes.
13. My interests/hobbies are . . . golf, running, music, books
(especially audio books), good meals with friends and excellent
14. I enjoy listening to . . . an eclectic mixture of rock -
especially alt-rock and alt-country - jazz and some old stuff.
15. I enjoy watching . . . movies, some TV shows (especially
detectives and good science fiction), and some sports - Alabama
football, University of Virginia basketball (or really any
16. My idea of a great vacation is . . . going on a cruise or
17. Something others may not know about me is . . . I played
tenor saxophone in high school.
18. If I could be anything other than a physician I would be . .
. I cannot imagine any other career.
June 2014 Issue of IMpact
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