Getting Involved in Research
I am Dr. Jeff Kingsley and this is another edition of Riding in Cars With Researchers! Today I am going to be interviewing a great Principal Investigator of ours, Dr. Paul Weinberg, of Gwinnett Pulmonary Group.
Dr. Weinberg, let’s start off by telling the audience a little bit about your background.
I was born and raised in Atlanta, went to college in Maine, and then did my medical school and residency at Emory Hospital. I did my Fellowship at Chapel Hill and have been in private practice in the Lawrenceville area of Atlanta for the past 30 years.
So how did you get involved in research?
About 5 years ago we had some extra space we needed to find a use for and thought that research would be a good outlet for it. I was excited about getting back into research. When I was a Fellow I did some so I liked that approach. The more I found out about it, the more excited I was as it would be good for patients to get them involved and help them get some care that they might not be able to get otherwise. It’s turned out very well and a lot of patients have gotten a lot of good out of it and helped them resolve some major health issues.
Being Successful in Research
So over the years, you’ve obviously been successful doing research for a good long time. But you’ve seen doctors who are not successful doing research. What are the characteristics that make a good researcher?
Just like with anything in medicine, you have to care for the patients. That’s the basis. And you have to pay attention to detail, not only to make sure the patients are right for what you are doing or else everyone is going to be unhappy. You have to pay attention to the studies, and make sure it’s being done correctly, and that it is a worthwhile study that’s going to fulfill not only the goals of the company but also what the patients want out of life.
So the doctors that have a high attention to detail and care about their patients are going to be the ones who are most successful in adding research to their regular practice. And you need to have enthusiasm for whatever you do.
Do you think there are doctors that just shouldn’t do research – they just aren’t wired for it?
Yes, there are doctors who just want to take care of patients quickly. Not that they don’t care, but they don’t get involved in what makes patients click as much. In research, if you are going to take really good care of patients, you need to get behind what the diagnosis in medicine is.
Do you regularly talk to your patients about research? Do you recommend research regularly?
Yes, I recommend it. Probably not as much as I should, but it’s in my mind and I try and hook them up to it. I try and make sure it’s a good match before I recommend it. Most of the time when I recommend it, patients like it. They not only want the study, but they enjoy the extra detail and attention that patients get in research. They end up doing more and more studies. One thing I’ll say about the coordinators and the individuals who work at research sites, they pay attention to the patients and listen to them and end up making everyone feel special.
Research as Part of Healthcare
There is an increasing dialogue in the industry about research as a care option. It’s not healthcare and research as two separate things but rather research should be baked into healthcare and it’s just part of the ongoing conversation across all specialties. What are your thoughts on that?
One of the things I’ve noticed in a lot of medications is that a lot of what is discovered about drugs comes after they’ve been released. Sometimes several years down the road. You need to think about the medicines you’re giving – the side effects, toxicity, and what’s going wrong or right with them. Like it or not, we are all a part of ongoing research for all medicines.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the audience.
I think research is worthwhile. I wish more people were involved. It’s a very extensive, expensive evaluation but when it’s done right everyone is paid off.
It’s the only way we get smarter.
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