We Asked. They Answered.
Our Honor Roll doctors talk about their careers, their specialties, and the changing medical landscape.
Q: Some of you have been in practice for more than 30 years. What are some of the greatest changes you’ve seen in your field?
Gary Kravitz (infectious diseases):
My practice is more evolution than action. I had never seen a case of AIDS before starting my practice and never thought we’d see it here in Minnesota. Lyme Disease wasn’t around. Almost every year there seems to be something totally new. It’s energizing.
Paula Kelly (pediatrics):
The emotional needs of kids have skyrocketed. Anxiety, depression, and eating disorders are so common now.
Victor Corbett (endocrinology/internal medicine):
The treatment available to diabetes patients is drastically different. We now have home monitoring, better medicines, and better education.
Mark Norman (ophthalmology):
I couldn’t have imagined doing laser eye treatment when I first started. Safety is so much higher now.
Carl Smith (urology):
Working at Hennepin County Medical Center, we see more and more patients of different origins. The impact we can have on these patients drives us every day to treat and find excellent care.
Thomas Flynn (oncology):
We understand cancer at a molecular level now. There are better medications now that target specific abnormalities, which helps control the disease. Because of advancements, cancer can sometimes be more like a chronic disease.
James Flink (critical care medicine/pulmonary disease):
While the foundation of what I do has remained the same throughout
30 years, refinements and improvements are always changing the field. It’s fun to learn and to change with it.
Q: Many of you have been at the same clinic since you started in medicine; why is that?
Scott Davies (critical care/pulmonary disease):
I like the culture of a safety-net hospital like Hennepin County Medical Center. I get to teach and see patients in clinic.
Stephen Sundberg (pediatric orthopedic surgery):
The team care approach at Gillette is outstanding. The support from the nursing staff and other specialists allows us to give the best care to kids.
Q: And many of you have patients you’ve seen during your entire career, don’t you?
Wayne Leebaw (endocrinology):
I have several longstanding patients, and you certainly develop very close relationships with them.
Mark Stesin (endocrinology):
I know my patients as people, and I’ve seen how they’ve changed. Part of the enjoyment is getting to know them as people.
I’m seeing a lot of second generation now. Patients are bringing their children to see me, which is the best compliment.
Barbara Malone (pediatric otolaryngology):
You truly get to see your patients grow up and get the pleasure of seeing families evolve.
Q: Are you constantly solicited for free medical advice?
I always say that I run an outpatient clinic in my family room. I get a lot of questions about kids hurt in hockey games.
James McCord (pediatrics):
Questions about family medicine are part of the territory. I figure it’s my contribution.
Evan Ballard (ophthalmology):
A lot of people with migraines ask me for advice. I feel it’s a gift to have a specialty skill, and I’m honored to share my knowledge.
Almost everyone knows someone with diabetes, so I’m asked a lot of questions related to diabetes. A lot of people are concerned about complications or increased cardiac risk factors.
Q: Many of you teach residents as part of your practice. What is it like to usher in the new generation of medical care?
Medical students and residents have challenged me to continually improve. Their presence keeps me fresh and honest and forces me to justify what I am doing when we see patients together.
Richard Stafford (pediatric gastroenterology):
They’re much smarter than I was at that age! The basic science they know is outstanding.
I wanted to teach as part of my practice because teachers and mentors make the biggest impact on you in medical school.