Interview with Dr. Tony Gasparis
Read Tony's thoughts on the business of healthcare, establishing relationships with industry, and personal finance tips he wished he knew coming out of fellowship.
Before we dive in, here’s a little more on Dr. Gasparis’s medical background:
Current: Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Stony Brook University
Fellowship: Vascular Surgery, SUNY-Stony Brook and Endovascular Surgery, Texas Tech University
Residency: General Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University
Medical School: SUNY-Syracuse
Thanks for joining us, Tony. Let’s dive right in! Shortly after you completed your residency and fellowship training, was there a therapy area or subject matter you wish you were taught or had more experience in?
I would have liked to have more experience with complex embolization procedures for malformations, fibroids, and bleeding. These are usually performed by Interventional Radiologists and I did not have the opportunity to learn these procedures.
Many residents and fellows leave training with a sense that they aren’t fully ready for clinical practice. Do you remember a time when you felt like you weren’t ready for “prime time”? How did you overcome this?
Addressing a family for the first time after experiencing my first patient death. As a trainee, I was never taught how to deal with families when they’ve lost a loved one. This is something I had to learn on my own.
When thinking about the business of healthcare, what are 2-3 concepts that you wish you knew coming out of your fellowship?
How to negotiate salary, ways to promote myself, and how to develop relationships with industry.
You have friends and colleagues across multiple healthcare disciplines. For a young clinician, how important is networking? Are there 2-3 tips that you can pass along on how to network better or effectively?
Communicate with colleagues about their patients, follow up with them after treating their patients, call them when necessary, send them referrals, and ask patients to let their doctor know about their experience.
Physician-industry relationships can be very valuable, but they are sometimes perceived in a negative light. How do you effectively work with industry partners?
I try my best to be honest, transparent, responsive, and treat them as equals in order to achieve the same goal: improve patient outcomes.
You speak on podium at many conferences and do a fair amount of physician training. What are some of the important skill sets needed to be an effective leader in these types of initiatives?
Know your topic very well. Same with the literature. Be a true expert; don’t just “know” about the subject. Focus on research initiatives in the area of interest.
Try to learn about the subject from others that have expertise in the field and develop your own perspective.
And lastly, be confident when you present on stage.
COVID-19 has sped up the process (and technology adoption) in which virtual learning and remote case observation are becoming more prevalent. How do you see this playing out for residents and fellows?
Technology will continue to play a major role: remote education, virtual webinars, virtual cases, etc. We will return to live events, but remote learning will continue to play a large part in the process.
So-called “turf wars” are inevitable in almost any workplace setting, including healthcare. How do you approach this challenge and what’s your advice for graduating residents and fellows?
Those types of people will continue to do what they do. You will never be able to fight them.
Just do the best you can do and you will eventually get the patients.
When it comes to personal finance, what do you wish you knew coming out of your fellowship?
Get life insurance early on. It’s much cheaper. Invest in retirement to the max. Look outside of your day-to-day work and find alternative sources of income. There are many opportunities, even outside of medicine.
Open your own business and get a good accountant. It will cost you, but it will definitely pay off.
When operating, if you had to choose 3 songs to play on repeat, what would they be?
Greek music. All the way!
Which mobile app are you addicted to -- personally and professionally?
Starting over in your late 20’s or early 30’s, knowing everything you know now, what would you do differently?
I would have been more aggressive in taking financial risks.
Do you have any conferences, symposia, or other resources that you’re trying to raise awareness for?
Yes, the Venous Symposium, which we usually hold in New York every April. And the Arterial Symposium every June in New York as well.
Where’s the best place fellows and residents can connect with you online?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.