In today’s high-tech world of medicine, you might picture a cardiac electrophysiologist at work completely surrounded by advanced machinery, engrossed in printouts, monitors, and the other medical technology required to make accurate diagnoses and provide state– of–the–art patient care. In contrast, here is how the colleagues of Dr. Mark Wood, 2011 MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician of the Year, describe him at work:
“He is never looking at his cell phone or being distracted by a smartphone or other electronic distracters. When he is with a patient, he is completely and totally focused on them. He is a marvelous listener. He makes his patients feel that they are the only one that matters, the only one in the room, and that all of their concerns are appreciated and heard.” says Dr. Ken Ellenbogen, M.D., Hermes A. Kontos Professor of Cardiology and Chair of the VCU Division of Cardiology, Pauley Heart Center.
“It is my great fortune to be in the clinic at the same time as Mark and to share patients with Mark on a regular basis. His patients view him as a caring and compassionate clinician.” shares Dr. Michael Hess, M.D., Professor of Cardiology and Chairman, Division of Cardiopulmonary Laboratories and Research. “He is both a joy to work with and an excellent physician in his care for patients.”
A native of Memphis, Dr. Wood came to MCV for his residency training and three fellowships in research and clinical cardiology as well as cardiac electrophysiology. He completed an additional fellowship at U.Va. before returning to VCU as Assistant Director of the Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) Laboratories and Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine in 1991, rising to the rank of Professor in 2004.
In addition to being a skilled and compassionate physician, Dr. Wood has been a pioneer in patient safety. Dr. Ellenbogen recalls that “Mark introduced me and all our partners and trainees to a method for caring for our patients that involved developing a “checklist” manifesto for performing clinical procedures. In other words, Mark decided that all of our patients should benefit from an organized and thoughtful approach to a complex procedure.” As Dr. John Nestler, William Branch Porter Professor and Chair, Department of Internal Medicine explains, “Mark is an internationally acknowledged expert in his field … and has instituted quality systems and processes that have resulted in a remarkable zero percent procedural complication rate in the EP laboratory over the past ten years.” Dr. Wood also instituted a daily meeting in which all patient providers, including physicians, fellows, nurses, and students participate and discuss patients to improve communication and support the best patient care.
Dr. Wood’s accomplishments include a long history of federal and private industry funding, authorship or co-authorship of more than 300 research papers, serving as editor for five textbooks, and recognized excellence as a teacher, with nearly 200 presentations locally, across the country, and around the world. His students awarded him the Clinical Cardiology Fellows Faculty Teaching Award in 1998, the Department of Medicine Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2004, and the Outstanding Teacher in the Cardiovascular Course Undergraduate Medical Education Award from the second–year medical students for six years.
Dr. Wood’s philosophy of clinical practice is that at every encounter, the patient deserves your undivided attention. sit down, listen to the patient, and before acting, ask, “Is this what I would want for myself and my family?”
Isn’t this approach what all of us would want for ourselves and our families? His rare combination of patient-centered care, compassionate bedside manner, and masterful clinical and technical skill make Dr. Mark Wood most deserving of the 2011 MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award.