Carlos Ernesto Nolasco Morales, MD, FACP, AHSCP-CHS, talks about his parents' influence and providing virtual care to his patients.


Carlos Ernesto Nolasco Morales, MD, FACP, AHSCP-CHS
Staff Physician, Teladoc Health Medical Group, Lewisville, TX
Founder, President, and CEO at Nolasco Medical Group, PLLC, Springfield, IL

Universidad de El Salvador in Central America

John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, IL

What is your current position?

I currently serve as a Staff Physician at Teladoc Health Medical Group, P.A., a leading provider of virtual health services. Additionally, I hold the position of Founder, President, and CEO at Nolasco Medical Group, PLLC, a small private practice in Illinois.

Where did you attend medical school and postgrad training?

I earned my medical degree from the Universidad de El Salvador in Central America. Subsequently, I pursued my residency in internal medicine at the distinguished and historically significant John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois. Concurrently, while serving as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, I acquired additional clinical training specifically focused on the management of hypertension. This specialized training played a pivotal role in achieving my certification as a Hypertension Specialist.

Why did you choose to become a physician?

I chose to become a physician due to the profound influence of both my parents. My father, a general surgeon, and my mother, an OB-GYN in El Salvador, inspired me as I spent much of my childhood in their clinics and accompanied them to hospitals in the city capital. The exposure to and enjoyment of those experiences shaped my ambition: from a young age, I envisioned no other path for myself but to follow in their footsteps and become a physician. I never thought of pursuing anything else.

What field of internal medicine did you select and why?

After completing my training, I specialized in primary care, academic medicine, and clinical research within internal medicine. My passion for teaching and cultivating enduring connections with patients in clinical care led me to these fields. Engaging in clinical research provided a unique perspective, offering insights into innovative approaches for treating hypertension and other metabolic disorders, including MASLD.

Currently, my specialization involves the treatment of resistant and complex hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, incorporating the use of technology. I have a particular interest in preventive cardiology and a focus on understanding the interplay between COVID-19 and the development or exacerbation of metabolic disorders, such as hypertension and diabetes. In addition, I provide virtual treatment for patients with urgent care needs.

Please describe a typical day in your practice.

In my practice, a typical day revolves around delivering direct patient care through the utilization of technology, covering 37 states. I dedicate my time to evaluating and treating patients virtually, engaging in synchronous interactions via phone or video. Additionally, I employ telehealth technologies, such as remote patient monitoring, for patient follow-ups. On a full workday, I typically attend to a caseload ranging from 30 to 60 patients. The duration of each evaluation varies compared to a traditional, in-person visit. Beyond patient care, I allocate time daily to learn new skills and to explore innovative ways of enhancing health care delivery through technology, reflecting my commitment to continuous improvement.

What are some of your special interests professionally?

Professionally, my special interests center around hypertension care and the enhancement of health care delivery through technology. I strongly believe in the transformative potential of technology to connect patients and their doctors in a cost-effective and straightforward manner, leading to improved clinical outcomes. Additionally, I am actively fostering my skills with a keen interest in advancing my knowledge in management, finance, health care law, and leadership.

What are your interests and hobbies outside of medicine?

Beyond the realm of medicine, I find immense joy in cherishing moments with my family, whether through cozy cuddles or exciting travels—we make the most of every shared experience. Our interests align with enjoying movies, exploring new places, playing silly games, and savoring delicious meals together. Staying active is a shared goal, pursued through outdoor adventures or indoor exercise routines.

On a personal note, I am fascinated by computing and find great satisfaction in delving into the intricacies of personal devices, including their predecessors like PDAs or PalmPilots. My enthusiasm extends to learning about leveraging technology to enhance workflows, a pursuit that continually captivates my interest.

What advice would you like to share with medical students, or what do you wish someone would have told you while you were in medical school?

For aspiring medical professionals, the path to becoming effective leaders and outstanding physicians extends beyond the confines of the medical school curriculum. Essential skills, often not thoroughly covered in academic settings, play a pivotal role in shaping a successful medical career. My advice to medical students is to actively seek opportunities to enhance their emotional intelligence (details to follow). Building meaningful relationships within and beyond the medical field, improving financial literacy, and acquiring leadership and management skills are equally crucial. As future physicians, it's imperative not only to excel in medical knowledge but also to take on leadership roles and managerial responsibilities. Medical education should encompass the skills necessary not just for practicing medicine but also for effectively managing and navigating health care practices.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Emotional intelligence. In the medical field, particularly as a physician in the United States, emotional intelligence is crucial for fostering strong patient–physician relationships. It enables a deeper understanding of patients' emotions, concerns, and needs, contributing to more empathetic and effective care. Moreover, emotional intelligence enhances communication skills, facilitates collaboration within health care teams, and promotes a positive work environment. These qualities not only lead to better patient outcomes but also contribute significantly to professional growth and satisfaction in the medical field. Recognizing its importance, all medical learners should seek to enhance their emotional intelligence.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Professionally, I take pride in being the first Salvadoran-born physician to achieve a hypertension specialist certification, both in the United States and worldwide. To date, the designation has been granted to approximately 1,500 physicians practicing in the United States, Canada, and internationally. Only a handful are Latinx like me.

Who is your hero of fiction?

I hold a profound admiration for He-Man, also known as Prince Adam, the fictional superhero and central figure in the Masters of the Universe franchise. As a young boy, I was captivated by He-Man's extraordinary strength and power: the resonating words "By the power of Grayskull!" echoed in my mind, transporting me into the realm of Eternia.

Yet, beyond the awe-inspiring physical prowess, my admiration for He-Man deepened due to his embodiment of positive virtues. He served as a remarkable role model, exemplifying virtues such as compassion, leadership, courage, humility, loyalty to friends, selflessness, resilience, optimism, honesty, and a profound sense of responsibility. These virtues, interwoven into the fabric of his character, fueled my enduring fascination with He-Man, rendering him a timeless symbol of heroism and virtue in my life. (I particularly cherished reflecting on the valuable life lessons imparted by He-Man and his friends in the concluding moments of each TV episode!)

What is your motto?

"Everything is going to be O.K." In my own expression, I often say, "Todo va a salir bien."

Back to the March 2024 issue of ACP IMpact

More I.M. Internal Medicine Profiles