For my 40th birthday my family framed an essay I had written in the first grade, entitled “What I want to be when I grow up?” The answer will come as no surprise: A doctor. What I realized between that birthday and my first years as an AMA trustee is that being a doctor is only a part of my passion and service to the medical community.
As the son of an immigrant tradesman for the New York Times, I achieved that 6-year-old’s dream in 1984, graduating from UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson (Rutgers) Medical School, having grown-up in suburban New Jersey. And with that goal accomplished, I looked forward to my medical career with new ideas and a sincere desire to give my best to my patients and my profession. During this time, I began thinking about the ‘big picture’ in medicine, combining my interest in social science (I majored in history at Columbia) and passion for medicine, as I became active with the AMA Resident and Fellows Section.
I lived in Pittsburgh once I completed my training in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine in 1993 with my wife Mary Beth and four children: Alex, Nicholas, James and Alessandra. I served on the Pitt faculty as a professor of Critical Care Medicine and Pharmacy and Therapeutics in both the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy where I was actively engaged in teaching students and residents how to be at their best at patients’ bedside.
In 2009, I had the opportunity to apply my innovation skills at West Penn Allegheny Health Systems as Founding Member of its Surgical Critical Care Division where I helped launch its services and education division while also serving as the Medical Director for Pharmacy Services. While at WPAHS we improved the system by engaging physicians as leaders in improving our bedside care.
From there I took on the challenge of the University of Toledo and University of Toledo Medical Center and Clinics. In numerous roles culminating as the Chief Operating and Medical Officer, I helped steer UTMC and our physicians from a small hospital and school into a regional powerhouse that streamlined processes improving the work of doctors in outpatient offices, operating rooms, ICUs, and hospital floors. Together, we created models for delivering innovative clinical services by capitalizing on the wealth of physician insight and using this knowledge to improve our patient and physician satisfaction within clinical environment and with health technology. Looking to the future, we engaged our learners–medical students and residents–in all facets of our work to help lead the change and best prepare our younger colleagues for future challenges and opportunities.
In 2016, having successfully worked to place our physicians on a path to greater practice and financial security, I recognized my passion and proficiency in helping to shape and improve patient care in our rapidly changing medical landscape. That led me to start Sirio² Healthcare Innovations where I work with medical practices, health care systems, and technology companies that are creating new approaches to medicine while continuing to donate time to a local clinical practice. This role allows me, to be a voice for doctors, crafting solutions to health delivery challenges—a needed role for the AMA and one I look forward to expanding as President.
Throughout my career, I’ve advocated for advancing medical professionalism by focusing on improving the medical education system and improving the quality and safety of care.
My career includes substantive engagement locally, regionally, statewide and nationally with numerous professional groups and commissions. In each role, I directly impacted the quality and safety of patient care while furthering the role of doctors as leaders in health care.
As a 6-year-old, the idea of becoming a doctor represents the challenge and rewards of helping others. As a seasoned doctor who has had the experience of working with patients, medical students, colleagues, and health care innovators, I realize my dream has greater implications than I had ever imagined. The future success of our health care system is about understanding the importance of how we serve all these groups.
It is my passion for improvement that has led me to want to build on my service to the AMA as a Trustee to become your next President-Elect,
to boldly move us to a new level of leadership within our practices and the health care system as a whole. As children we dream of becoming doctors to help people be healthy, as doctors we strive to provide the best patient care in a rapidly shifting environment and as individuals we know that things must change and that we must do better. As President of the AMA, I will amplify our leadership as health care providers and our future at the heart of America’s health care system.