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My Kind of Medicine: Officer Profiles: Nitin S. Damle MD, MS, FACP & Thomas G. Tape, MD, FACP
Nitin S. Damle MD, MS, FACP
General Internist in Private Practice and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Brown University Affiliated Hospitals, Providence, RI
Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
1. I was born and raised in . . . I lived my formative years from seventh grade through graduate school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the home of the Wolverines. Prior to this we traveled and lived overseas and in Boston and New York City. Ann Arbor offered a wonderful place to live with great sports, culture and an academic environment. The Midwest values of hard work, integrity and honesty were part of my upbringing.
2. I decided to be a doctor . . . My decision to enter medicine was not made until late in my undergraduate career at the University of Michigan. My initial inclination was to be a basic scientist but recognized that my true interest was in caring for people, solving problems and a thirst for education. My career has been in the care of patients over 28 years in the private practice setting. My partner and I have built an eight-physician practice in Rhode Island that has been at the cutting edge of medicine with adoption of electronic health records in 1997, a Patient Centered Medical Home since 2008 and now a member of an Accountable Care Organization. I have also taught at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and done research in the area of Lyme disease.
3. The person(s) who influenced me the most . . . My parents were my greatest influence. They provided me the guidance and encouragement to excel in all endeavors, especially in academics. They were first generation immigrants from India (both scientists) and recognized the enormous opportunity that America offers to those who work hard and achieve academic success without the need for influence, significant finances or networks (none of which they had).
4. I chose internal medicine because . . . internal medicine combines the breadth and depth of medicine, in addition to personal interactions on a long term basis with patients. It offers challenges in diagnosis and treatment and requires lifelong learning.
5. What I find most rewarding about my career is . . . The most rewarding is the long term relationships with patients and sharing their triumphs and difficulties. Second is the opportunity to apply what you learn and read about in real life is a privilege. Third is the teaching of medical students, residents and patients about the art of clinical medicine.
6. I joined ACP because . . . it is the institution that provides education, advocacy, practice advice and sets the standards for the practice of medicine. Unlike our college, medical school and residency years, there is no organization to call your career home. ACP is our conscious home.
7. An award or achievement I am proud of . . . I am proud of being an FACP, developing a practice from scratch 28 years ago and building with my partner an eight-physician practice that practices state of the art medicine. I am also proud of the work and advice I have given ACP over a decade and now am honored to be its next president.
8. My advice to medical students is . . . find out what you are passionate about and do well. They generally go together. Take the time to develop relationships with your colleagues, mentors and patients. Keep your life in balance and cherish your family and friends. Remember that you are a privileged few who have worked hard to achieve and you must spend some time giving back to society in medicine or in other ways.
9. My family includes . . . my wife Diane who is a high school teacher, my older daughter Paige who is an emergency room nurse, my younger daughter Faith who is entering high school and our dog Ebony and cat Bentley!
10. My interests/hobbies are . . . I have been a lifelong runner through high school and college. I also enjoy golf, tennis and squash and only wished I could play better. I enjoy traveling with family and friends, good food and restaurants, great books (mostly biography and non-fiction), blues and rock and roll and writing when I get a chance.
11. If I had the time, I would like to learn . . . After my year as president I hope to pick up the piano again.
12. I enjoy watching . . . great movies, both new and classics.
13. My idea of a great vacation is . . . with friends and family to destinations that have culture and involve physical activity like hiking, biking or climbing.
14. Something others may not know about me is . . . I am an avid student of cosmology, physics and philosophy.
15. If I could be anything other than a physician I would be . . . every boy’s childhood dream in the 60’s and 70’s; a baseball player or astronaut!
Chair, Board of Regents:
Thomas G. Tape, MD, FACP
Professor & Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Residency and GIM Fellowship:
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
1. I was born and raised in . . . Port Jefferson, New York, but did the majority of my growing up from the third grade onward in Bethesda, Maryland.
2. As a child I was . . . studious and intensely interested in the sciences. Although I am one of three siblings, my brothers are so much older than I, that by the time our family moved to Maryland, I was the only child residing with my parents. With my father and a brother doing nuclear physics and my other brother teaching college mathematics, I always assumed I would pursue a career in science.
3. I decided to be a doctor . . . during a summer program in high school where I worked with the cardiothoracic surgery team at the Bethesda Navy Hospital both in the OR and in the experimental surgery lab. Among other projects, the lab was studying the mechanisms of sepsis in baboons and I became fascinated with probing the pathophysiology of that difficult to treat condition which continues to challenge medical science.
4. The person(s) who influenced me the most . . . was my father. His integrity, commitment, and enjoyment of his career inspired me. I also appreciated his unwavering support as I pursued a very different career from his.
5. I chose internal medicine because . . . it most closely resembled my notions of what doctoring was about: caring for the whole patient, developing longitudinal relationships with patients, solving diagnostic challenges, and coaching patients to work towards their health and wellness goals.
6. What I find most rewarding about my career is . . . the constant variety of what I do as well as getting to work with smart and interesting people: patients, learners, colleagues.
7. I joined ACP because . . . a mentor during my residency training advised me to become a member. Although I cannot recall the specific reasons underlying his recommendation, ACP has played numerous key roles in my professional development. From contributing to an ACP published book on diagnostic strategies, to participating in chapter and national scientific meetings, to working on ACP-sponsored survey research, to serving on policy committees and now involvement in governance, ACP has been there for me. Being part of an international community of internists continually reinvigorates me. That mentorship advice to join ACP 31 years ago is amongst the best advice I have received.
8. An award or achievement I am proud of . . . is being asked to chair the ACP Board of Regents.
9. My advice to medical students is . . . Keep your mind and options open. Although having goals for your career is important, be open minded and when a great opportunity presents itself, “go for it!”
10. I like people who . . . demonstrate integrity and show a concern for the well-being of others.
11. My family includes . . . my wife, Elizabeth; two grown sons, Samuel and Benjamin; a daughter-in-law, Jess; two Newfoundland dogs, Dali and Beacon; and five cats, Sylvie, Shmooey, Mr. Biggles, Harrison, and Chewie.
12. My interests/hobbies are . . . photography, classical music, dogs, walking, cooking, and non-fiction reading.
13. If I had the time, I would like to learn . . . to competently play a musical instrument.
14. I enjoy listening to . . . NPR & classical music.
15. I enjoy watching . . . House of Cards and similar series.
16. My idea of a great vacation is . . . traveling to historically interesting places.
17. Something others may not know about me is . . . that I am passionate about the life and music of Gustav Mahler.
18. If I could be anything other than a physician I would be . . . a research chemist.
19. A person I greatly admire is/was . . . Dr. George Engel, the “father” of the bio-psycho-social model of disease. During weekly coaching sessions that were part of my fellowship training, Dr. Engel helped me master the art of medical interviewing. He also helped me to assess and treat disease in the context of the patient. I learned innumerable “pearls” from him that I have used over the years and seek to pass on to my students and residents.