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Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

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Sep 22, 2020

Steven Lee Berk, MD, is the Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Lubbock. Dr. Berk graduated from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine residency and Infectious Disease fellowship at Boston City Hospital. He is the author or co-author of over 150 peer-reviewed publications and four textbooks. Dr. Berk has served on the NIH Special Advisory Panel on the evaluation of vaccines against infections in the elderly, on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, and as a reviewer for most Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease journals. He has served on the Board of Directors Nominating Committee for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and chaired the AAMC community-based deans subcommittee for eight years.

It is inevitable throughout our journey in medicine that we will find role models that inspire us each day. But how do we discern what kind of physician makes the best role model? Today, Dr. Steven Berk explains that the best physicians to emulate are the ones who are highly skilled in bedside manner. Physicians who are present with their patient, spend time with that patient, and then share their experience and knowledge with upcoming students and residents are the kinds of doctors we should be seeking out and learning from. He also explains how important it is to foster emotional intelligence in the field of medicine. And in order to do that, we must work toward creating classrooms and environments that encourage diversity. And we must commit to spending time with—and learning from—different backgrounds, different cultures, and different ideas.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Develop qualities of staying calm and clear headed, no matter how stressful the situation.
2. Gratitude is one of the key qualities of a good mentor and student, and this will keep us on the right path.
3. Be committed to patient care. The more committed to patient care you are, it will make overcoming challenges more manageable.
4. Continue to build enthusiasm in medicine: Remember why we started, and keep that passion alive throughout your years. At the end of the day, keep a holistic eye on our profession.

Read more about Dr Berk’s memoir of being kidnapped and how the principles from his medical training helped him successfully navigate the crisis. It’s a compelling read for all, especially medical students and residents.

Get your copy here: