A Mensch and Healer of Hearts
What is your specialty, and why did you choose it?
I am a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist. Electrophysiology is a subspecialty of cardiology that deals with the management of heart rhythm disorders — arrhythmias. In this field, I have the opportunity to perform state-of-the-art procedures to treat and potentially cure patients. I chose this specialty because it allows me to bring the latest developments in science and technology directly to the patient — from the bench to the bedside.
What are two key qualities a 21st century physician should possess?
1. The ability to adapt to change. It has become increasingly complex to provide the best possible care in the most efficient manner and still be human and humane to those that are ill.
2. Remaining relevant. Part of being an excellent physician includes staying up to date, reading peer-reviewed journal articles and attending national meetings.
How do you define success in your field?
To be successful in electrophysiology includes making a timely and accurate diagnosis and being able to provide the best possible treatment options, and doing all of this with a human touch.
What are two essential skills/tools you received from Scheck Hillel that you use today?
1. My parents provided me with a warm, nurturing and loving home and made it a priority to provide me and my sister, Tamara Kenigsberg (’98), with a Jewish education. It was at Hillel, however, that I discovered the importance of Torah values and Torah observance.
2. Hillel afforded me a healthy environment to interact with other Jewish students from varied backgrounds and nationalities. I learned how to establish and foster strong bonds and long-lasting relationships with other students. I attended Hillel from PK3 all the way through Grade 12. I graduated with an amazing class in 1993, with many people who I knew and grew up with since pre-Kindergarten. Many of these people are still friends today. Most importantly, I met my wife and the mother of our six children, Susana Salama (‘94), while at Hillel. Of all of the things that I am grateful for, meeting Susana was the best and most significant.
One digital tool you can’t live without:
As a physician, I am attached to my cell phone. At times, I feel like my phone is a digital handcuff. In my line of work, one has no choice but to be glued to the phone during daytime hours and on nights and weekends when on call. However, when I am not on call, on Shabbat or Yom Tov, I am very happy to turn off my phone and put it away.
Your advice to Scheck Hillel students looking to pursue a career in the health professions:
Follow your dreams, don’t take no for an answer, and if you really want something badly enough, by working hard and focusing, you can realize your dreams and achieve your goals.