Interview: Dr Lewis Goldfrank

Dr. Goldfrank is Professor and Chair of the Emergency Department at NYU/Bellevue Hospital Center and Director of the New York City Poison Control Center.  Dr. Goldfrank is a dedicated phyisican who has spent most of his career caring for the underserved population of New York City.  He is a civil rights activist and is committed to social justice.

Receiving: You have been practicing Emergency Medicine for more than three decades, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen?

LG: The development of academic departments, EM residencies, exceptional fellowships, devotion to academicity, the exceptional quality of faculty, resident, and students.

Receiving: What are some of the toughest issues we currently face in the medical profession?

LG: Lack of universal healthcare, inadequate access to primary care, corruption of the pharmaceutical and device industries in collusion with physicians.

Receiving: How did you first become interested in toxicology?

LG: The overwhelming demands in the ED population, environmental toxins, unintentional and intentional exposures and their vast societal implication all come to ED. Someone needed to study and develop responses.- antidotes,education and management strategies.

Receiving: Some of your recent work has been in disaster preparedness; are we prepared?

LG: We are integrating efforts, collaborating with more people than ever before and thinking about the unthinkable – all that makes us better prepared.

Receiving: You recently visited the African country of Guinea; how has that experience reshaped any of your views in Emergency Medicine?

LG: We are creating educational exchanges for faculty, nurses, residents, fellows and students so that young people can have a global educational perspective. The developing world must address problems that we no longer address – working together is a unique intellectual experience. The intellectual exchange includes members of many of the schools of NYU – Public Policy, Dentistry, Nursing, Medicine, Public Health. The opportunities for learning are unmatched.

Receiving: How can Emergency Physicians improve society?

LG: We must find jobs that make a difference to human beings. Achieving improved societal understanding of health and working with our communities, offers us the capacity to feel useful every day.

Receiving: Who is your role model?

LG: Probably no one individual – a composite of values and skills represented by Upton Sinclair, Pete Seeger , Albert Camus and Linus Pauling.

“The Meeting Room” is devoted to interviewing leaders in Emergency Medicine.  Please email me with suggestions on people you would like to see interviewed or if you would like to conduct an interview.

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