Q) As one of the younger members of the Curēus Editorial Board (early 40s) and being right in the middle of the professional world that pushes “publish or perish” what attracted you to Curēus?
A) I love the idea of having public free access to medical content…I like the idea of making information more readily available. One of the issues of other public access journals is the fact that authors are charged steep fees. Something should be published because its quality not because I am willing to pay a fee.
Q) Why did you pick the Cartilage Repair Center (CRC)?
A) I trained at Harvard and then went to Chicago for a Fellowship, but I had signed an agreement to return to CRC before I left. The more complex answer as to why cartilage repair… is that I had done research in this area, but in orthopedics at large most of the work is in hip replacements and it can become boring. With sports medicine, there are far more procedures and the spectrum is very interesting. What arthroscopy gives you is a real relationship with patients for years. Sports medicine is of course financial, which is necessary, but I wanted more. You see patients [in sports medicine] for a few months and within a few years they will never remember your name. Cartilage repair is a nice mix of these two…you get long term relationships but also the variety in surgical procedures.
Q) How do you deal with burn-out and repetition?
A) We all feel stressed. Our environment is such that we have a private practice model inside an academic environment. We have to see patients to make money, and we do our academic research at nights and on the weekends. I try to take every other Friday off …. but it rarely turns into an actual day off (like today, I have taught two courses, done administrative work, and now I’m talking to you)… but a day off from seeing patients and the OR gives me a little break.
Q) What are you most proud of on your CV?
A) I am probably most proud of my residency….it was the hardest thing. I came from abroad (Germany) and it is very competitive to get into a top orthopedics residency program. I was lucky in many ways…I certainly benefitted from people I met along the way, but I have always been told luck favors the prepared mind.
Q) What are you most proud of that is not on your CV?
A) I am most proud of my kids. I have two kids…one from Taiwan and one from Korea. Infertility is the best thing that ever happened to me and my wife because it led to two terrific kids.
Q) What percentage of time do you dedicate to clinical and research?
A) 100% clinical and 50% research [laughing]? There is so much I want to do…things on my list, but I don’t have even have time to sit down and start. I really work 4.5 days a week clinically and incorporate the day off every other week. I go home and put the kids to bed and then spend 8 to midnight working on my academic work.
Q) Outside of work and your kids what are your other passions?
A) That’s a tough question…I have no time for anything. I would love to use my treadmill for something other than drying laundry [laughing]. I can’t complain though because I could change my work mix, but right now, I choose not to. If I had the chance I would live in different countries. I did that as a child because my dad was a pilot. If I could I would live in a new country for 6 months to a year at a time so I could get to know the area as a local.
Q) Finally, what would you want to share with our readers related to your experience living and working internationally?
A) As someone who has lived and worked in South Africa, England, Germany and briefly in China, it is worth noting that every country in the world is struggling with the same health care issues as we are. There is no perfect system. The grass is not always greener… I know, because I have been there.