I grew up in Tampa, Florida, where I earned my undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida. I then made my way to Knoxville, Tennessee, for medical school, where I met my amazing wife. We developed a strong love for the outdoors and came to feel at home in the forest, hiking or camping. We moved to Lansing, Michigan, where I attended an emergency medicine residency at Michigan State University. My love for medicine stems from my strong desire to connect with others at their most vulnerable and dire times. I realized emergency medicine was for me when, as a high school student, I broke my femur in a water-skiing accident. Hearing the sound of the helicopter blades and watching the skilled EMS personnel and physicians in the emergency room lit a fire inside me to achieve that level of excellence, too.
My personal practice pattern in the emergency department (ED) is one of patience, compassion, and calm strength in the most stressful of situations. Being an emergency medicine physician, I see it all, from the day-old infant with frightened new parents, to the 99-year-old woman who has lost her only caregiver and now has an injury to overcome. I feel it is my responsibility not only to provide life-sustaining treatment but also to understand the subtle nuances of communication and empathy with all demographics and all ages, within any possible combination of scenarios. It may take a lifetime to really know someone, but as an ED physician, I have just minutes to adapt to a patient's cultural upbringing and their individual personality, in order to care for them and provide the best possible medical treatment. This challenge, and that of treating medical ailments, sustain my love for emergency medicine.
I feel that the personality of an emergency medicine physician it is somewhat generalizable, and while I do not define myself by my career choice, I do feel that it has a profound impact on who I am and how I guard against the stresses that we all incur in this life. I do not like to sit still. Being active, whether kayaking, hiking, biking, minimalist camping, or reading a book in my hammock is when I feel happiest. I am most centered and feel most connected to the world outside amongst old-growth trees, the sound of gravel beneath my feet. I believe very strongly in travel. We will not regret those experiences we have had while traveling but rather regret those trips we did not take. My wife and I both believe in the importance of experiencing cultures other than our own, and we enjoy showing our son the way of life we have chosen. We also love to experience new restaurants and cuisine — and have found that the atmosphere is as important to us as the quality of the food. I find the most rewarding volunteer work is that of maintaining our national parks and preserving our natural spaces. These spaces are priceless and are where our children will grow and learn the lessons of our history and of their future.