Member Spotlight: Christopher Smith, MD



Christopher Smith, MD
Internal Medicine Residency Program Director
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

How long have you been a member of AAIM?

Approximately 15 years

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love my job. It is an extraordinary honor and privilege to participate in the healthcare of others. Similarly, I feel fortunate to work with and learn from exceptional students, residents and fellows. Just as I receive tremendous satisfaction in helping my patients, I greatly value the opportunity to help our learners achieve their career goals.

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

AAIM has allowed me the opportunity to further develop and refine my skills as an educator and leader to help better serve my residents and faculty. AAIM provides a “space” to meet new and old friends, to share ideas, and to collaborate on projects.

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

It is hard to identify one moment—I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by bright and thoughtful students, residents, fellows and faculty who amaze me every day with their dedication to patient care, medical education and research. Through my daily interactions with them and by having the opportunity to participate in their successes I have had a myriad of “favorite moments.”

What was your childhood dream job?

It may be boring, but being a physician has been my dream job as long as I can remember.

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my wife and daughter, and particularly enjoy traveling and exploring new places and cultures together. When not traveling I enjoy being outdoors and active, especially running, skiing, and kayaking.

What is your favorite book (or movie)?

Within medical education I thoroughly appreciated “Make It Stick,” which helped me rethink how we learn, retain and retrieve information and refine how I teach. Since it was initially published, I’ve shared the book with scores of faculty, fellows, chief residents and residents in our clinician educator track.

Outside of medicine I particularly enjoyed “Boys in the Boat,” which highlighted the power of human spirit and our remarkable ability to overcome adversity. It also underscored the goals we can achieve through dedication, hard work and deliberate practice.

What is the best advice that you have ever received?

A remarkable medical educator, Dr. Charlie Hatem, reminded me that “You cannot not teach.” While words are important and formal teaching valuable, our actions often carry more weight and meaning. Charlie’s comment reminds me the famous quote from Albert Schweitzer, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”