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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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Jun 1, 2021

Christopher Whinney MD is the Department Chair for Hospital Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, where he oversees 200 providers and 6 hospitals. He completed his medical school at Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University and residency in Internal Medicine from Temple. His Clinical Interests include inpatient and perioperative medicine. He enjoys mentoring students, residents and faculty and has been awarded 2018 Master Teacher of the Year Award by ACP Ohio and the 2020 Center for Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring’s Mentor of the Year award at the Cleveland Clinic.

As physicians, we must strive for clinical expertise, but that's not where our work ends. Today, Dr. Christopher Whinney shares a personal anecdote of being in the hospital with his wife who had terminal breast cancer. He experienced more closely what it was like to be on the other side of the hospital bed. When Dr. Whinney looks back, it’s not just the clinical expertise that he remembers. It’s the compassion and the care brought to the bedside. Little acts of kindness that really made an impact: the doctor slowing down, taking a seat, asking his wife “what do you need?"

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. At the start of a rotation, ask everyone on your team for one interesting fact about them, beyond medicine, to get to know each other.
2. When you think about healthcare from the perspective of a patient, compassion is what patients remember, more than clinical expertise. Practice little random acts of kindness.
3. Mentorship is not a quick fix, it’s a journey. Think of it not as transactional, but as relational.
4. When deliberating whether to reach out to a mentor, just do it! If they say no, move on to someone else!