Rashad Belin, MD, PhD
• Chicago native - Graduate of University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Illinois-Chicago graduate school, and Xavier University
• Loves all things cardiology
• Busy dad to two young sons
• Frequent teaching award winner
• Once played basketball against Michael Jordan
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How did you decide on a career in internal medicine? What are your career plans following residency?
I thought seriously about becoming a cardiac surgeon, as I love all things cardiac! But I realized soon that I wouldn’t have the relationships with my patients that I wanted. Before this, I considered pursuing a career as a basic scientist. Internal Medicine allows me to develop close, long lasting relationships with my patients. It is very gratifying to admit a patient, diagnose and manage them as an inpatient and then have them designate me as their PCP and follow-up with me in clinic once I discharge them to home. I am planning to pursue a career in Cardiology. My dilemma is that I know at some point I’ll have to pick one subspecialty or maybe two! As things stand, I like Electrophysiology, Heart Failure, and Interventional.
“One of my goals during intern year has been to read Harrison’s Textbook of Internal Medicine. I am about 50% done and can say it is a must read for all medicine residents.”
Tell us about your research and how you started.
My intro to research began my junior year of college when I participated in the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) at UIC. I conducted research on skeletal and cardiac muscle mechanic. I enjoyed the work so much and was so productive that my mentor (Pieter P. de Tombe, PhD) requested that I return for a 2nd summer and that I pursue a PhD in his lab. I was fortunate to have a mentor who was supportive and allowed my scientific curiosity to develop. After graduate school, I received a T32 award through the NIH and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in preventive cardiology/ cardiovascular disease epidemiology with Donald Lloyd Jones MD, MS as my mentor. My work has focused on the epidemiology of atrial fibrillation and heart failure. My research has resulted in abstracts and oral presentations at the American Heart Association national meetings and first author publications in Circulation: Heart Failure and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Considering you have two young sons, how do you achieve work-life-family balance?
I have been a dad since graduate school, so I learned early on in my training the value of working when I am at work and not working when I am home. The way I operate now is that I make sure when I am physically at home, I am also mentally at home with my family. Family time is precious to me, and my children will only be young once, and I will only have a few chances to, for example, teach my sons how to bat left-handed or work with them on their piano. I am benefited by being a perpetual “early bird” and sometimes wake up as early as 1am in order to complete my work before the kids are up. I get my work done and can still prepare their breakfast or lunch and get them off to school.
Where can we find you after hours?
Though work, life, and family keep me very busy, I still make time for myself. I am a bit of a gym rat and love working out. In the winter, I am usually at one of my sons’ basketball games or practices volunteer coaching or behind the camera. In the fall, it’s football. In the spring/summer it’s baseball and soccer. No matter the season, you can find me at home helping with homework or preparing dinner. Finally, I enjoy going to local coffee houses and reading for an hour or two, usually I am getting caught up on the scientific and clinical literature. Not much time for hobby reading these days!