David Borenstein, MD
David Borenstein, MD
Clinical Professor of Rheumatology, The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington DC, and
Partner, Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates
I decided to become a rheumatologist the beginning of my fourth year of medical school. I had just completed my cardiology rotation and every patient had chest pain. Cardiologists were most excited by the unusual patient with rheumatic fever or systemic lupus erythematosus. I realized that the interesting patients for the other internal medicine subspecialties were those with rheumatic diseases. My rheumatology professors were great teachers, but they were honest. They were willing to admit that a host of questions remained to be answered. I was intrigued by a subspecialty that did not have all the answers, where a young investigator could make a contribution. While a number of major advances have been made in rheumatology over the last five years, a number of questions remain unanswered. Thus, the possibilities for a young physician to make a major advance in the field are as great now as they were then.
I became an academic rheumatologist at the George Washington University Medical Center. I wanted to teach young physicians how to care for rheumatic disease patients. Over that period of time, I taught more than 20 rheumatology fellows. These fellows are now caring for patients in locations all over the country. In this way, I've had an opportunity to influence the way individuals receive care far beyond my own office. In addition, the academic setting allows the opportunity to investigate both basic and clinical research interests. My basic research interest was the susceptibility of joints to infections. In the clinical arena, I investigated therapies for low back pain.
After 18 years, I decided I wanted to write more extensively while continuing my clinical practice, so I joined a practice with five other rheumatologists. I was able to complete a book for the public on low back pain and a third edition of my spine book for physicians. I was also able to continue my clinical research efforts which help to design and implement clinical trials, all while seeing rheumatic disease patients five days a week. I have the opportunity to enjoy non-medical aspects of life. I play squash three times a week, enjoy ski vacations, and my family and I relish the cultural aspects of Washington, DC.
I am pleased to have chosen rheumatology as my life's work. I have been honored to provide care to patients, some for more than 20 years, and I continue to enjoy going to work each day. That is my reason for becoming a rheumatologist.