This week, members of the Cureus team had a chance to chat with Richard Baxter, MD of the Cureus Editorial Board and a leading plastic surgeon based in Seattle, Washington.

Why plastic surgery? It’s the ultimate “integration of the left and right brain,” Baxter says. Initially an art major in college, he combined art, his aptitude for medicine and science, and his belief that “there’s gotta be a better way to do these things!” With this mindset, Baxter sees each patient as a living breathing work of art; leveraging creativity with medicine has “allowed me to be innovative in my practice,” he says.

As a medical journal, we asked Dr. Baxter how he digests the published information out there. “Interesting dilemma,” he replied. “I read the abstracts…” He’s noticed the trend that medicine has become increasingly cross-disciplinary over the years, and says “journal politics and inter-specialty rivalry” has made publishing more difficult. While he had an academic appointment years ago, he has actually been more prolific in private practice than in the past. Why? “Quitting my academic appointment has enabled me to have more unfettered relationships with innovative companies, but as you can imagine there is always more to it.”

Why did Dr. Baxter join the Cureus Editorial Board? 1) He is a self-proclaimed “curious” individual, and 2) because of the major opportunities for Cureus to provide a missing link between the too often disparate worlds of the academics and private practitioners. “The boundaries of specialties are changing,” Baxter says, and Cureus can be that platform to both encourage and reinforce cooperation and collaboration.

Baxter believes information and knowledge need to be more readily available both within specialty, and across specialties, connecting the gap between “hot topics” and “innovation” throughout the medical community as a whole.

With his personal drive for innovation, Baxter became tired of waiting two years or even more for published information to be revealed in a traditional journal, saying, “by this time, the information is stale.” He attends The Emerging Trends Committee of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons which organizes a symposium called “hot topics” in conjunction with the annual meeting. Dr. Baxter is a regular speaker at these 6-hour sessions “for curious minds,” which provide an opportunity to hear something new while it is still in fact new. Publishing is not just for academics anymore; “We should be entrepreneurs and innovators!”

Always looking for ways to innovate, Dr. Baxter has combined his vast knowledge of wine with his medical training to author a book entitled: Age Gets Better With Wine, now in its second edition. Dr. Baxter explores the health benefits of wine, and for all of us who love wine, he presents several more reasons to open up another bottle this evening.

Thank you to Dr. Richard Baxter.

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