- Title Pediatric Medical Director of the Comprehensive Family Care Center and Associate Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
As a child I spent my summers in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where my father, a faculty member in the BU Biology Department, had a lab at the Marine Biological Laboratory. There he studied the function and evolution of platelets in a variety of animals. Like many MBL kids, I had a number of jobs as a lab assistant. As a young adolescent I often went with my father on Saturday mornings to the Biology Department, then at 2 Cummington street. Early exposure to nature and to working laboratories set the stage for my undergraduate studies at the College of Liberal Arts at Boston University where I majored in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. After having a childhood in Woods Hole living on a diet of field guides and learning about invertebrates, fish, reptiles, and birds, I recall thinking “I have to do well in zoology” and crammed especially hard for the final exam in the BU law school library which was a very quiet, personal refuge from the distractions of undergraduate life for me.
While I was entering my junior year as an undergraduate, I was offered admission to Boston University School of Medicine as part of a program created by the Commonwealth Fund. This program sought to foster “patient-centered care” in future physicians by offering a selection of humanities courses during the undergrad years that were intended to complement the explosive growth of scientific understanding of disease. As part of this program I took a very memorable course taught by Daryl Matthews on the social and legal context of mental illness. I recall being fascinated with his prescient position on the fundamental right of patients with mental illness to refuse treatment.
Following my medical training I was hired by the General Pediatrics Division of the Department of Pediatrics of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where I have been for the last 29 years. There I serve as the primary care doctor for children and families in the Bronx, teach Einstein medical students and future pediatricians, and have assumed leadership roles in both in our busy practice and in the Department of Pediatrics (most recently as one of several Vice Chairman). I have to say that my leadership roles have all came to me as offers rather than as part of a deliberate plan on my behalf.
From an academic standpoint the highlights of my career include working ad hoc at the FDA as a reviewer for the Orphan Drug Product program, serving as an invited evidence reviewer for the United States Preventive Services Task Force (which critically evaluates routinely done medical screening tests) and being appointed as an editorial board member for Pediatrics In Review, a monthly publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
My professional life now includes a gratifying mixture of patient care, teaching, administrative leadership roles, and scholarship and much of what I think about and enjoy I can relate to my two-generation connection to the Biology Department