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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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Jan 28, 2021

Ronnie Fass MD is a Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. He is the Director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Heads the Esophageal and Swallowing Center at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Dr. Fass earned his medical degree from Ben-Gurion University Faculty of Medicine in Israel. He then moved to the United States and pursued a residency in Internal medicine at the University of Arizona Medical Center before completing his fellowship in Gastroenterology from UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Fass serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. Dr. Fass has published more than 550 articles, editorials, commentaries, and abstracts in reputed journals. He is the recipient of various awards and honors including the American Gastroenterological Association/Janssen Award for Digestive Sciences in Clinical or Basic Research.

When did you decide to study medicine? What about a specialty? These are big decisions which are likely to affect the rest of your life. How do you make the right decision? Today, Dr. Ronnie Fass shares the secret to his approach on making these decisions. He tells us that he made sure to lay the groundwork, he did his research, but most importantly he talked to people who had already taken the journey he was considering, and his mentors. So how did it turn out? Dr. Fass asserts, “Even now, 30, 40 years down the line, I still feel this was the proper path for me.”

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. When you need to make an important decision, lay the groundwork: talk to people who know you and understand the subject that you’re making a decision about, and consult with expert mentors.
2. When you reach out to mentors, show enthusiasm and seriousness. It’s not just that a mentor feeds you and you eat. You have to have the ingredients and listen to them about how to prepare an amazing meal.
3. Listen to patients and give them time. Read their charts beforehand so that you have a background. Never skip the physical examination, which is critical to your role as a healer. Follow up in a timely manner and keep communication open.