Ricardo Correa, MD, EdD, FACP, FACE, FACMQ, FAPCR
Endocrinology Fellowship Program Director and Director for Health Equity and Inclusive Innovation, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
Health Equity Fellowship Director, School of Medicine, Creighton University, Phoenix, Arizona
1. What is your current professional position?
Endocrinology Fellowship Program Director and Director for Health Equity and Inclusive Innovation, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Health Equity Fellowship Director, School of Medicine, Creighton University, Phoenix, Arizona.
2. Why did you choose internal medicine?
I realized that the area of medicine that combines the power of a well-performed clinical history, physical examination, and evidence-based medicine to guide you to make the best diagnosis and treatment for patients is internal medicine. I enjoy all the opportunities that you can have in internal medicine.
3. What trends are you seeing in your day-to-day practice (with patients, the health care system, or otherwise)?
I am seeing the gap in the health care system. Patients with good insurance can get whatever you prescribe but underinsured and uninsured patients suffer many complications. I see how patients with chronic conditions but poor resources cannot control their disease and have severe problems.
I am happy to see that my colleagues from many organizations—especially from ACP— advocate to decrease this gap, but we need more physicians doing this to make changes.
Another positive thing is that I am seeing a more diverse health care workforce, and this is helping the system and the patients.
4. What do you want to accomplish professionally within the next five years?
I would like to make a greater impact on the community that I serve. I would like to push health equity to the next level and, with advocacy, prevent disparities among different populations. Also, I would like to see more physicians have a better cultural and linguistic understanding of the population they serve, especially in the hospital setting.
Professionally, I would like to become an Associate Dean for DEI and to continue training the next generation of DEI leaders.
5. Can you share a brief (and anonymous) patient encounter or professional situation that made you proud to be an Internal Medicine physician?
I had a patient who presented after many years with multiple fractures. Nobody was paying attention to the bigger problem, and he was only treated for the fractures. The patient—whose quality of life was decreasing—was visiting doctor after doctor to find an answer. After examining the patient and taking a good history, in conjunction with ordering the correct laboratory work, I was able to find that the patient had a rare condition that weakened his bones. Internal medicine taught me that we must listen to the patient and think outside of the box in many cases. That thinking helped me solve the patient’s problem and start treating him with the correct medication. After several months, the patient sent a letter thanking me for all of the hard work and for improving his life. Really, the only thing I did was listen and think critically about the situation. Internal medicine combines the research and art of medicine to help every single patient.