Joseph A. Tyndall, M.D., M.P.H., UF College of Medicine interim dean and professor & chair of emergency medicine
Q: What is your area of expertise and why did you select this area of medicine?
A: My clinical discipline is in emergency medicine. I became interested in the specialty from my first experiences in the hospital as a nursing assistant in an emergency department in Washington, D.C. Back then, I worked in the department where some of the founding fathers of emergency medicine built an academic practice. I was drawn to their clinical expertise in handling almost any emergent situation. It was clear that they were content experts in acute care management of any illness or injury and that their expertise in the golden hour of care was critical in ensuring patient survival to the next level of care.
I was also drawn to the social context of their practice — the physicians had a phenomenal ability to communicate with anyone from any walk of life. Every day, they devoted themselves to making each patient comfortable, speaking their language, gaining their trust and providing outstanding expert and compassionate care. Most of all, I was drawn to a commitment to be a safety net for the health care system and to be able to provide care 24/7/365 — any time, any place and anywhere.
Q: If you weren’t a physician in your current area of expertise, which other area of medicine would you have selected to specialize in and why?
A: I was drawn to trauma surgery and critical care and even considered pursuing it after my original training.
Q: If you weren’t a doctor, what other profession would you have pursued?
A: Art/Music. I trained as a musician as part of my education in college and I was in love with the idea of composing for film.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a physician?
A: Without a doubt, being a physician is about being able to impact lives. It is not only an opportunity to care for others but an opportunity to become a better physician and, in the end, become a better human being.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given and by whom?
A: The late Dr. Elizabeth Tso, a professor emeritus of emergency medicine at the University of Maryland, was my most significant mentor in medicine. Her last words of advice to me before she passed were, “Follow your heart.”