Member Spotlight: James Pile MD



James (Jim) Pile, MD
Program Director, Internal Medicine Residency
Case Western Reserve University (MetroHealth Campus)

How long have you been a member of AAIM?

Hmm—I believe since 2006, though I’m not 100% certain about the exact date.

Describe your typical day.

There is no “typical” day, which is one of the best parts of the job. I have a 50% clinical 50% administrative breakdown of time, so as a hospitalist it makes a great deal of difference whether I’m on service or off. I still love clinical work, with those weeks involve prioritizing patient care and teaching, along with attempting to balance adding the optimal number of meetings and other administrative work. “Off service” time incorporates the responsibilities familiar to all program directors, and of course has a distinct rhythm depending on the time of year. Particularly given our program’s medium-large size (78 residents), and my struggle with delegation in this area, recruitment has certainly dominated the past several months!

What is your favorite part of the job?

Providing career counseling, and more generally life advice, to residents, and seeing residents progress (sometimes in fairly dramatic fashion) over the course of their training. A fairly close second, however, is the opportunity to innovate and improve the program. Together, I believe these are our primary opportunities to leave a lasting legacy as program directors.

How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?

Wow, where to start? The organization has been such a tremendous resource since my earliest days as an associate program director, with the listserv providing incredibly helpful advice and guidance on myriad issues. The Textbook for IM Education Programs was an extremely useful guide as I prepared to step into the PD role 18 months ago, and continues to provide direction and answers. AAIM/APDIM meetings have been a remarkable source of novel ideas, support, and a chance to share our local efforts via workshops, and are always high points of the academic year. Finally, many individual members of AAIM have been amazingly helpful and inspiring. I’d like to steal the opportunity to give a particular shout out to Keith Armitage, who was my PD many years ago and whose masterfully emotionally intelligent leadership style continues to deeply influence me, and also to Abby Spencer, who really taught me the essential nature of programmatic creativity and innovation when I served under her as an APD.

What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?

That’s a tough question, but perhaps seeing my first class of PGY-3 residents (as a PD, that is) graduate last year—it was certainly one of my proudest, at any rate!

What was your childhood dream job?

Working as a park ranger, particularly in one of the “great” National Parks such as Yellowstone or Glacier. I still have dreams this could be my second career!

How do you spend your free time?

I’m a big road biking aficionado, and a highlight of the year is an annual bike touring trip I’ve been doing with the same group of friends since medical school. I like to hike, and to backpack when the chance arises. My wife and I are avid theater-goers, and look forward to spending time with our daughters when they’re home from college.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

That I had a luxuriant head of hair until my late twenties!