September 30, 2022
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Renowned medical thought leader visits Sanford Health

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Renowned cardiologist, research scientist, author and health care visionary Eric Topol, M.D., recently spent time at Sanford Health for productive conversations around the future of medicine.

During his visit, Dr. Topol discussed necessary changes in how we educate medical learners, the barriers to rural care and lessons learned from the pandemic.

He is the executive vice president of Scripps Research and the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Dr. Topol has published over 1,200 peer-reviewed articles, with more than 250,000 citations, elected to the National Academy of Medicine, and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine. His principal scientific focus has been on the genomic and digital tools to individualize medicine.

Additionally, Dr. Topol is principal investigator for a $34 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to promote innovation in medicine and the education and career training of future medical researchers. In 2016, he was awarded a $207 million grant to lead a significant part of the Precision Medicine Initiative (All of Us Research Program), a one million American prospective research program.

Passionate about medical education

Dr. Topol was hosted by Gary Timmerman, M.D., who serves as professor and chair of the surgical department at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.

He spoke to Sanford’s Graduate Medical Education students to discuss how the state of GME has changed over past decade and will continue to evolve, specifically as young students find passion in the field.

“The sooner you can find what you are excited about and what you think may be a talent to nurture, a particular quality that is burning inside you, go for it,” Dr. Topol said as he joined Sanford Clinic President Luis Garcia, M.D., for a podcast conversation. “It doesn’t happen by accident. You have to really work at it, as well. It’s a pairing of finding that inclination at quality and then really going after it.”

Read: Sanford, UND launch new graduate medical education programs

With nearly 40 years’ experience in health care, he told Sanford Health News he’s passionate about medical education and seeing new providers enter the field.

“When you experience (the health care industry) from the patient side and you know how critical it is to have a person look after you and that you can trust, then you really know what you’ve been doing all your life in medicine,” Dr. Topol explained. “There’s nothing more important than to be able to turn to someone, not just when you’re sick, but to try to prevent something that you otherwise might be destined to get. We’re very lucky. This is an incredible profession.”

Dr. Topol toured both the Sanford Children’s Hospital and the Sanford Heart Hospital to discuss issues such as future workforce, integrating genomics, digital medicine and artificial intelligence in medicine today.

“What I’m excited about is Sanford could be the leader and pioneer in reestablishing that the care of the patient is about caring for the patient,” he said. “There isn’t a health system in the United States that is the exemplar and you can do that here.”

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Leadership in Health Care, Postgraduate Programs, Rural Health, Virtual Care





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