We asked Dr. Gregg Lipschik about the field of medicine and got to know him a little bit on a personal level.Dr. Lipschik is an NIH-trained critical care specialist and pulmonologist. He is co-director of the Penn Medicine Clinical Simulation Center, director of the Patient Safety Fellowship at the Philadelphia VA Hospital and was previously director of the Medical ICU at the Philadelphia VA Hospital and a laboratory researcher studying Pneumocystis pneumonia in patients with AIDS. Dr. Lipschik will be teaching at our Penn Medical High School Summer Program this summer.
JKCP: What part of medicine do you practice or did you study?
I'm an internist (internal medicine specialist) and pulmonary/critical care physician, taking care of the sickest patients in the hospital and in the medical intensive care unit. I also do a lot of teaching.
JKCP: Why did you choose that area of medicine?
I Love the interaction of Medicine and Science.
JKCP: How long did you have to study to become a doctor?
Four years of college, four years of medical school, then another four years to be a specialist and subspecialist.
JKCP: What was the hardest part of medical school and why?
The work was hard but interesting; the most difficult thing was living in a different city from my wife.
JKCP: What is a typical day like for you?
I have no typical days; I do different things--teaching, research, patient care, administration--every day is a different schedule and a variety of things to do.
JKCP: Was there anything that you really did not expect about being a doctor?
I didn't realize how much I'd enjoy teaching.
JKCP: What is your favorite part of being a doctor/ the area you practice?
My favorite things are teaching students and taking care of the very sickest patients.
JKCP: What is the hardest part of being a doctor? Why?
The hardest part is dealing with dying patients, especially young people.
JKCP: Did you expect that to be the hardest part?
Yes, especially knowing that I would be working with very sick patients, I expected dealing with death to be the hardest part.
JKCP: Would you choose a different career now knowing what it is like to be a doctor?
I've often wondered about being a high school teacher; I almost actually quit medicine to do that.
JKCP: What is your favorite part about the University of Pennsylvania?
There are so many different opportunities, and there are always great, motivated students that are eager to learn.
JKCP: Do you have any advice for high school students aspiring to be doctors?
Do the minimum amount of science and math in your undergrad you must to apply to med school; study what you love, whether it's history or science or math or art. It’ll all work out eventually.
Rapid Fire Questions:
When I was 16…
I was a freshman in college
People would be surprised to know…
Spanish is my first language; I also wrote a novel.
Favorite things about Philadelphia?
Restaurants! (and the theater)
Favorite place to eat in Philadelphia?
Favorite things to do?
Write, teach, eat, and garden
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird