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President’s Message


S  TTmmer 2015

Tom Kintanar, MD  FWMS President

President’s Message: Greetings

Salutations! And best wishes to all members of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Medical Society! I am truly humbled and grateful to be serving as President of this great organization for the coming year.

My sincere gratitude and kudos to Zach Waterson, who served with great diligence and distinction as our 2016 President. He steered this Society through some very challenging times in the past year. The presidential election, third-party payer issues, MACRA, and the local pertussis crisis were among a few of the problems he had to address. We stand strong and intact because of his efforts.

Now to the year ahead, at the time of this writing, we have had our annual Medical Society dinner. In addition to conducting the business of the Medical Society, we had the opportunity to honor Dr. John Csiscko and Win Rood. Both of these icons of our Medical Society in one way, shape, or form, have been mentors to many of us. I had the privilege many years ago of being a young Medical Society board member when we decided to enjoin Win in naming him as our Medical Society Executive Vice President. I also shared many common patients with Dr. Csiscko. Through the many years of interaction with them, both of these colleagues have exhibited integrity, honor, and a class that supersedes many others. Although we mourn the passing of Dr. Csiscko and cherish the years of service that Win has provided, I personally am honored to have shared my professional service time with both of these men.

Mentorship is a time honored component of medicine. I believe all of us have multiple individuals who we cite as our personal mentors when recollecting our navigation of the medical field. Benjamin Franklin said “tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

One of my earliest medical mentors was Dr. Gerald Nolan. Dr. Nolan was one of the medical liaisons for the medical explorers post while I was attending high school. It was one of my earliest exposures to becoming a physician. The meetings were held in the basement of St. Joseph Hospital. I don’t know or remember how many of my explorer colleagues became physicians but it was clear at the time that Dr. Nolan had a keen sense of mentorship and provided insight and shared stories of his love of the practice of family medicine. He also provided me my first moonlighting gig when I went out in private practice as a medical reviewer at the Canterbury nursing home.

Another medical mentor was Dr. Justin E. “Barney” Arata. When my family moved to the north side of town, I became a classmate of Dr. Arata’s son, Jim. One Sunday afternoon I cut my foot. My parents knew no one else and called Dr. Arata at home. He requested my parents meet him at his office. He repaired my cut and referred us to another mentor, Dr. Garland Anderson.  As a family physician, Dr. Anderson demonstrated by example that long hours, hard work and dedication were important to being a great physician. He also demonstrated that maintaining a very close relationship with families was equal to the knowledge that he possessed as a physician. As I traversed through medical school one of my most memorable mentors was Dr. Joseph Ruiz, my attending instructor in general surgery. After I had heard all the horror stories about how grueling, demanding, and brutal a surgical rotation could be, I recollected at the end of my rotation that Dr. Ruiz had always been respectful, cordial, and very paternal to all who were on his service. I quizzed him as to the stability of his demeanor throughout the several weeks that we had with him. He shared with me “The only thing that separates you and I is a piece of paper that we call a diploma.” To this day, I use that as my mantra when interacting with all medical  students.

As I had the good fortune to matriculate through the Fort Wayne Medical Education-Family Medicine residency program in the mid-80s, I had the privilege of being mentored by Dr. Jerry Stucky as my residency director. As many of us at the time “moonlighted” in emergency rooms, it was important to him to impart that we not abstain from our primary responsibilities in being educated family medicine residents. He did, however, one afternoon call me into his office to remind me to save as much of the earnings made in order to start my practice. He was correct! When hanging out my shingle, I needed more money than I could ever even imagine at the  time.

As I went through three years of family medicine residency, I cannot forget the other mentors that academically and politically inspired me. Doctors Joel Salon and Joseph Richardson have kept me reading the Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital whenever I get the chance. Dr. Michael Mirro was a key catalyst in mentoring the fine art of medical advocacy. Dr. William  Cast  dazzled  me  with  his  entrepreneurial vision before many of the Medical Society meetings I attended early in my career. Dr. Michael Mastrangelo taught me that being calm in the middle of a firestorm could overcome all clinical adversity in the surgical  suite.

When I finally left residency, I was mentored by three superb colleagues who taught me the fine art of “paying it forward”. Doctors David Pepple, Philip Johnson and Arvind Patel spent countless hours assisting and overseeing my procedural development. When insist-ing that they charge for cases we had worked together, the overwhelming response by example was to “pay it forward.”

It is evident that many small pearls of wisdom helped craft an extremely rewarding career. The seemingly insignificant acts of kindness, extra time spent, or pearls of wisdom offered are priceless in my heart and mind.

There are many more colleagues who I could cite and mention. However the message I would like to convey is that mentorship occurs every day whenever and with whomever we interact. The literature is very robust with mentorship programs for premedical students, medical students, residents, and even in professional societies. The everyday interactions that we are a part of provides ample opportunity to mentor or be mentored.

William Arthur Ward said “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

I’m looking forward to working alongside many of the inspirational leaders that we have on our Board this year as well as those who inspire me with their everyday practice of medicine!