AAIM Member Spotlight
David C. Thomas, MD, MHPE
Vice Chair for Education
Professor of Medicine
Medical Education and Rehabilitation Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
How long have you been a member of AAIM?
I’ve been a member for just over 5 years. I wasn’t a program director or clerkship director, so I became involved when I became vice chair for education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and was responsible for overseeing the academic program.
Describe your typical day.
At the school, I am Health System Vice Chair in the Department for Education and Assistant Dean for CME. The Mount Sinai Health System includes seven hospitals, four of which have trainees. I oversee 650 trainees in the 3 residency programs and 30 plus fellowship programs. I love my job. I see patients and precept the residents in clinic each week. I have a lot of administrative meetings that deal with the continuum of medical education in the DOM as well as for CME for the medical school. I am a clinician educator and do a lot of mentoring. I still make sure that I am somehow doing something related to patient care every day which keeps me grounded.
I am also the cofounder and medical director for the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP) which is our student run-attending directed free clinic. I work with dozens of medical students, the clinic co-director as well as other disciplines like social work and nursing to run that practice.
What is your favorite part of the job?
First and foremost is having patients involved in my day. I also really enjoy mentoring and watching junior faculty develop into clinical educators – seeing them be successful.
How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?
Although I haven’t been a member long, the people I’ve met and networking opportunities through the Alliance have been amazing. In fact, I am not as involved as I would like to be.
What's your favorite moment of your career so far?
Those “Ah-Ha” moments when you are working with trainees and they say “wow” I just figured out how to help this patient. It grounds the other work that happens. It makes me realize why I am here.
I think that this is why I don’t give this part of my job up—I am still seeing patients, teaching and helping to produce socially-minded trainees and future physicians.
What was your childhood dream job?
I knew I wanted to do something that involved lots of people. I didn’t figure it out until after college when I went to graduate school for public health. While in the middle of applying for a doctorate in public health, I realized my approach was clinical and I decided to go to medical school.
How do you spend your free time?
My free time on the weekends is very family oriented. On weekends I try to keep any work on outskirts so I spend time with my partner, Peter, and our 8-year-old daughter. We also like to do a lot of travel especially international trips and Lucia is an excellent travel partner with us. And, I always find time to get in a long run or two in Central Park.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I ran the Antarctica Marathon in 2010 surrounded by icebergs. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.