Member Spotlight: Suzanne Brandenburg, MD


AAIM Member Spotlight

Suzanne Brandenburg, MD

Suzanne Brandenburg, MD

Vice Chair for Education 
Department of Medicine 
University of Colorado School of Medicine

How long have you been a member of AAIM?

Since 1997. I was the first associate program director at the University of Colorado. Our program director at the time didn’t attend the meetings very often, but he took me occasionally and eventually other program directors that I met through APDIM suggested I get more involved. I’ve stayed involved and one member/mentor helped me join the accreditation committee and here I am!

Describe your typical day.

They are all very different which I enjoy. A lot depends on the time of year and my clinical responsibilities. If I am attending on the inpatient ward, I start early in the morning reading about patients remotely (“chart stalking”) and looking up articles, etc. to prepare for rounds. I reliably have clinic two afternoons a week. When I do not have patient care responsibilities, it’s variable. I spend too much time in meetings but enjoy opportunities to work with clinical educators on education administration, new programs, curricular design, etc. I also spend a fair bit of time meeting with junior faculty as part of their mentorship teams.

What is your favorite part of the job?

While I’m energized by education related curricular and administrative challenges, I really enjoy working with individual learners and caring for patients. Precepting in resident clinic and attending on the wards are particularly gratifying because there is an intersection between my favorite endeavors.

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

Without hesitation, APDIM was and now AAIM is my professional home—I always look forward to the attending meetings and connecting with people. I find it important and rejuvenating to network with like-minded educators and I greatly appreciate that resource.

I’m excited about the direction the Alliance is moving in with bringing the various member groups closer together and identifying commonalities.

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

I guess it was during my chief residency. That year I figured out how much I enjoyed both teaching and creating educational content. It became clear that I wanted education to be the focus of my medical career. For instance, the professional fulfillment associated with orchestrating a stimulating and somewhat controversial panel discussion on end of life care.

What was your childhood dream job?

I’m not sure. I mostly remember that I was enamored with Mary Tyler Moore and wanted to be an independent working woman with a studio apartment. My mom would say I wanted to be a teacher, and my sister would recall that I was obsessed with magic and likely wanted to be a professional magician.

How do you spend your free time?

I’m a big fan of cooking and baking. It is a great transition for me on an almost daily basis and something I associate positively with family time. I also read (mostly fiction) and do outdoorsy things that fit the Colorado stereotype— hike, bike, ski, etc. Finally, I am fortunate in that no matter how busy I am with work and other responsibilities, I can compartmentalize those stresses and fully enjoy just spending time with husband, son, extended family, and close friends.

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

I worked as an aerospace engineer before I went to medical school. As an undergraduate, I wanted to be a biomedical engineer, but no one was hiring in this field. There happened to be a big aerospace and defense boom as I graduated college so I landed a job at what is now Lockheed Martin.