“The business of medicine has moved us away from the practice of medicine,” says Dr. David Goldstein ’68, chief of the Division of Geriatric, Hospital, and General Internal Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, Calif. “We need to recapture that.”
“Patients come to us in their most vulnerable condition,” he says. “The patient-doctor relationship is powerful and significant in the lives of patients and their families. What we need today are physicians who can reflect on the patient’s experience and who go into medicine because they are interested in being healers.”
Goldstein, associate professor and vice chair for clinical affairs for USC’s Department of Medicine, is also co-founder and co-director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics.
He divides his time equally among teaching, seeing patients, and being an administrator.
A chemistry graduate who holds an M.D. from State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center, Goldstein first grasped the value of mentorship during his research with Joseph Sherma, Larkin Professor Emeritus of Chemistry. “I look back on how open he was about letting me into his world. He had such a great effect on me, enabling me to mentor so many medical students today.” Adding that his most notable career accomplishment is “the ability to ignite a flame in students, to see the sparkle in their eyes showing that they grasp the commitment to lifelong learning.”
Goldstein has found USC to be a great match for his career goals. “This university marries care of the insured with that of the underprivileged on one campus. It is the ideal setting to teach, push the envelope in research, and see patients.” It is one of the few medical schools where students interact with patients in their first week.
Goldstein’s latest project is Galaxy Health Care at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center. Designed to upgrade care in safety net hospitals that serve underprivileged and underserved individuals, the initiative provides patients with 24/7 access to health information through physician trainees.