March 01, 2012

Joel Heidelbaugh, MD: Family doctor, passionate rock-n-roller

Joel Heidelbaugh, MD
What do you do at UMHS?

I’m a family physician at the Ypsilanti Health Center who practices the full spectrum of primary care. I’m also the family medicine clerkship director for medical students M3 year. I teach medical students and family medicine residents in the inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as office-based procedures. I’m also involved in clinical research in gastroenterology, urology, and medical education.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The diversity of experiences and the supportive environment at UMHS which allow you to develop your career to the fullest potential. I love having busy patient clinics and being active locally and nationally in teaching, writing, editing, research and patient advocacy. Sharing my passion with students and residents allows them to learn about the vast possibilities available to them in a career in medicine. On a personal level, the relationships with my students and patients are extremely valuable to me.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Developing collaboration with the Department of Urology and establishing a men’s health clinic, as well as creating an academic portal for men’s health in the literature and online, which led to receiving the Outstanding Academic Promotion Award through the International Society of Men’s Health in Vienna, Austria in 2011.

Who had the greatest influence on your career path?

Dr. Macaran Baird, Chairman of Family Medicine, University of Minnesota, and my medical school advisor at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. As someone who entered medical school planning to become a neurosurgeon, he inspired me to consider how I could best advocate for patients throughout their entire lives – the hallmark of family medicine.

What was the last book you read?

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin. He does a fantastic job of highlighting fallacy in the paradigms of success through hard work and natural talent, and promotes the evidence behind the concept of “deliberate practice” as the most salient strategy for success.

What’s the most thrilling or adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Trying out for the lead guitarist spot in a nationally known rock band under the name “Spleen.” Unfortunately, I didn’t get the gig. The name of the guy who got the job was Mike Smith. Not very rock and roll…

What is your guilty pleasure?

Vintage port wine and dark chocolate. The perfect combination and packed with anti-oxidants.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

Either a rock star or an Olympic downhill ski racer, until I saw the huge potential for a negative impact on your health, in either case.