AAIM Member Spotlight
Todd Simon, MD
Department of Medicine
New York Methodist Hospital
How long have you been a member of AAIM?
It goes back a ways… I started getting involved in 2003. I was working at Mount Sinai in internal medicine and an opportunity arose to take a position as program director at Jersey City Medical Center - a Mount Sinai affiliate. I was fortunate enough to get that job and foray into the program director realm. That's when I first got involved with APDIM.
Describe your typical day.
I absolutely have no typical day. I do have a rotating schedule so I still see patients approximately two full days a week in a couple of settings – in my practice affiliated with the hospital and in resident clinic one session a week. And, I still take weekend calls where I see inpatients and cover the medical consultation service in the hospital. The other days are really a hodgepodge filled with teaching and an increasing amount of administrative work, including a lot of meetings.
What I do is highly dependent upon the time of year. The program director life is very cyclic. June was the end of the academic year and filled with activities related to residents graduating – ceremonies, completing forms for residents. I’m now teaching more, and anticipating application season in September.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Teaching – no question. It’s the time I spend with residents and students. It is the most fun part of the job.
How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?
To be concrete I find the national meetings and the online discussion group to be the most beneficial. Meetings are great for the sessions, but more for the opportunity to see colleagues and spend time with a bunch of people who do exactly what you do, which is important and a rare circumstance, especially in our field. The concept of program director is not really understood outside of our circles. Chatting with colleagues over lunch informally, learning about what they are doing and making connections is very valuable. I’m planning to go to the October meeting and Academic Alliance Week
The APDIM discussion board is possibly the single greatest invention for PD's. The forum is and continues to be a phenomenal resource. I read it every day and post to it periodically.
The AAIM awards program is also great, because a lot of the stuff that AAIM members do is sort of "behind the scenes" at their institutions. As DIO, I'm seeing more of that now in many different specialties. It's terrific to have a visible forum to recognize our colleagues for some of the great work that they do.
What's your favorite moment of your career so far?
What I enjoy the most is our graduation ceremony. We have a ceremony in our auditorium for the graduating residents and their families, and we give awards and hand out diplomas. It’s very special. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.
What was your childhood dream job?
I am not sure why but I always said that I wanted to be an architect. But as I was growing up I never pursued it. I also knew I wanted to be a teacher. And that is something that I actually did pursue. The one job I remember was teaching summer school during my undergraduate years. I taught math with students who were at multiple different levels - kind of like a one-room schoolhouse. It was fun. I always enjoyed teaching and thought I’d incorporate it in my career and ultimately that’s what I did. I’ve spent the vast amount of my career on supervising residents and students. In fact, after residency, I went back to school and got a masters degree in education. This was by far the most relevant and meaningful educational experience of my career.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend most of my free time with family. My wife is an internal medicine physician in full time private practice. She has years of experience in the private practice realm, so between the two of us we can cover all careers in internal medicine. We have two girls. One is 18 years old and just finished her first year at Amherst College. Her young sister just completed 10th grade and will start the college process next year. Neither one has any desire to be a physician!
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m Brooklynized. I think people would be surprised that I’ve become very much a part of Brooklyn. We bought our apartment here, so I can walk to work. Even though I spent many years living in Manhattan, I don’t go in nearly as much. My wife makes fun of me because I’m now surprised by how crowded it is.
I’ve also become quite a big foodie – I like to talk about food and can always recommend a restaurant!