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Vital Signs

Clinical Observation

In this section, we highlight the human side of clinical academic medicine, putting a few questions to a physician at DMS-DHMC.

Alan Rozycki, M.D.,
Professor of Pediatrics

Rozycki, a Dartmouth College '61 and DMS '63, is a general pediatrician with particular interest in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, spina bifida, and HIV. He has been on the faculty since 1972.

What made you decide to become a physician?

When I was an undergraduate at Dartmouth, I was interested in doing research in the biological sciences and actually was accepted to a number of graduate programs. Then I started to date a young woman who lived in Norwich and I was convinced it would be best to stay around here. So I started in the medicine program with an idea of getting an M.D.-Ph.D. After two years, I went to Harvard, where I had two wonderful clinician teachers and fell in love with clinical medicine. So it was for the love of a woman initially, and for the love of medicine secondarily.

If you weren't a physician, what would you like to be?

An adventurer-explorer like Indiana Jones. I love archeology and ancient societies and there's just no question at all I would love to do that.

What is the most exciting place you've ever been?

Cambodia. There's a group of beautiful 8th- to 13th-century temples at Angkor Wat.

What's your favorite place?

On the Connecticut River, canoeing or fishing. That's one of the reasons I have stayed here. This is home, and home is my favorite place.

What person, living or dead, would you most like to spend a day with?

I'd love to meet the Buddha. The Buddhist philosophy is one that I would like to emulate a lot more closely. But there are so many people that I'd like to meet. Actually, I'd like to meet my father again. He died about two years ago. So the Buddha and my father; both had various types of wisdom. My father was not a particularly special guy. He was a truck driver and a common man, but he was . . . you know, special.

What's the most recent book you've read?

I'm in the process of reading a history of India, in preparation for going to India. It's very good, very intriguing, and I'm disappointed in how little I knew about India and how little other cultures are emphasized in our Western education. I read a fair amount, I stay up with current events, and it's surprising to me to see things talked about that are of great

import to other places, and important things in terms of world history, that I've never even heard about.

Where has your interest in the world come from?

I think that my interest in internationalism arose when I was in the military from 1968 to 1971. I was stationed in Holland during the Vietnam War. Being in Europe and traveling around opened my eyes to a lot. What do family and colleagues give you a hard time about? I think that I can be a pain in the butt because I'm too impatient and often too exuberant. I'm a good listener with my patients. I'm not a good listener with my friends and family. And I think I talk too much. This is part of my New Year's resolution, to try and listen better.

Do you have a medical mentor?

Kurt Benirschke. Kurt was a professor of pathology here at Dartmouth. I'd call him up at 2:00 in the morning saying, "Kurt, I'm leaving medical school. I can't take any more." And Kurt would say, "Let's have a cup of coffee." He'd try to convince me to stick around. His argument was that if you want to be a great scientist in human biology, getting your M.D. could open so many other doors. And he convinced me after 10,000 cups of coffee.

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