Faculty Profile - Matthew Mintz, Associate Professor of Medicine
Himmelfarb Library continues this feature in our newsletter that lets us become better acquainted with our friends and colleagues at the George Washington University. In this issue we learn more about Matthew Mintz, Associate Professor of Medicine.
Tell us a little bit about your current position or research/projects.
In September 2013, Dean Akman asked me to take charge of our curricular revision, in which I currently serve as Interim Assistant Dean for MD Program Curriculum. This past fall, our new Senior Associate Dean for MD Programs, Dr. Richard Simons, asked me to stay in the Dean’s office to take leadership of the Pre-Clinical curriculum, and I await my appointment as Assistant Dean for Pre-Clinical Curriculum. There is an active search for an Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum who I will be working with, who will hopefully be named by the time this faculty profile is published. In addition to my roles in the Dean’s office, I remain course director of our Practice of Medicine III (POM3) course and I also see patients with the Medical Faculty Associates in the Department of Medicine.
How did you become interested in your field?
After completing medical school here at GW, I stayed to do a residency in Primary Care/Internal Medicine. Close to my 3rd and final year of residency, I was asked to stay on a Chief Medical Resident, which is a junior faculty appointment. At some point during my time as chief, I was bitten by the academic “bug.” I really liked the ability to see patients, teach and do research all at the same time. I also found that the academic environment allowed me to interact with some of the top professionals in their fields, and that the students and residents challenged me to be at my best. While my initial interests were clinical research, I was offered to take over the Primary Care Clerkship soon after joining the faculty full time. I jumped at the opportunity, and found that I really enjoyed working with students as a course director, as well as the challenges of running a successful medical school course. Since then, I have directed a variety of courses and clerkships, all of which prepared me well to lead our curricular revision.
What has been your biggest professional challenge?
The biggest professional challenge is trying to maintain balance while simultaneously not falling behind. One of the joys of academics is wearing multiple hats, but one of the difficulties is trying to juggle all of these responsibilities at the same time.
What has been your most memorable moment at GW?
I have been at GW since I was a medical student, so I fortunately have too many memorable GW moments to count. My oldest memorable moment was hearing then First Lady Hillary Clinton, who had been controversially appointed as “health care czar” by her husband, give one of her very first speeches on health care reform in Ross 101. My most recent memorable moment was hearing Dr. Anthony Fauci speak to our first year medical students at the beginning of our first intersession. Dr. Fauci used his own personal story about his work in HIV to discuss both the history and current challenges of treating AIDS. He integrated basic science, clinical sciences, ethics, public policy and humanities into his talk; which felt (to me) like our entire first semester of the revised curriculum had led up to that very moment.
What library resources or services have you found to be the most useful?
The most useful library resources are the librarians. They are extremely knowledgeable in the right tools to use and how to use them to find information.
Whom do you admire?
There are so many people here at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences that I admire, and I feel so privileged to call many of them my colleagues and friends. I admire our students who come to GW. They are so eager to learn and to help people, and have accomplished so much already, even before their arrival. If I have to pick one faculty that I admire, it would be Dr. Frank Slaby. As a student I remember Dr. Slaby as one of the students’ favorite anatomy teachers. More recently, I have worked with Dr. Slaby in enhancing our curriculum. I am not only impressed by Dr. Slaby’s commitment to excellence in education, but also amazed by his willingness to change the way he has taught and organized his courses, even after teaching here at GW for so many years.
How do you spend your free time? (or What do you do to relax?)
I am not sure if I ever get to relax, but any free time I have, I spend with my family. Both of my daughters (Allison, 13; Natalie, 10) are into musical theater, so there is a lot of time spent carpooling to rehearsals and seeing them perform.
What advice would you give to a new faculty member just starting at GW?
Take advantages of all the opportunities GW has to offer. Have a 5 year career plan in mind, but don’t be surprised if it veers significantly in a different direction. Almost every job I have held here came as an opportunity and was not necessarily planned in advance.