Dartmouth Medicine HomeCurrent IssueAbout UsContact UsSearchPodcasts

PDF Version   Printer-Friendly Version

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Dr. Mom & Dad

Making choices

Drs. Joyce DeLeo and Mark Splaine
Nicholas, born August 1991
Christian, born September 1993

Joyce DeLeo is a researcher who studies the mechanisms of chronic pain; she is a professor of anesthesiology at DMS and the director of Dartmouth's Neuroscience Center. Mark Splaine, a general internist, is an associate professor of medicine and codirector of the Quality Scholars Program at the Dartmouth-affiliated Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. He is a 1991 graduate of DMS, earned a master's degree from Dartmouth's Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences, and did his residency at DHMC. They met 19 years ago in Germany, while DeLeo was doing her doctoral research and Splaine was doing research between college and medical school. DeLeo joined the faculty in 1991, and Splaine in 1996. They have two sons, both born while Splaine was a resident.

With one clinician and one researcher, does that make it easier or harder to balance family life than if you were both clinicians?
Joyce: I think being a researcher is easier in that you can control your calendar more, and you can control when you are going to do experiments. You aren't having to schedule patients at certain times. You can decide when to write grants and write papers.
Mark: I especially relied a lot on Joyce during residency. She has some pretty funny stories about me coming home after being on call and trying to be an attentive father and basically falling asleep. That was a time when it was particularly challenging, because early on we had set out the idea that family was going to be our first priority. Making sure that happened during that time as much as it could set important groundwork for how we did things later.

What are some of those funny stories about falling asleep?
Joyce: Mark was an intern when Nick was an infant. I didn't get to see Mark much that year, and we lived in Lyme in a place without many neighbors, so it could be pretty lonely. Mark would come home and barely talk and fall asleep. One Saturday, I took Nick and drove all the

"It is so amazing how fast time goes by. Don't rush too much—it is not good for your health or for your family. Try to do just a little less, not more. . . . Try to keep dinnertime sacred. And remember that you can always say 'no.' "

way to Canada and back. I thought that when I got home Mark would have been worried about where we were, but he was still sleeping. He didn't even know we were gone!

What are some of your important family times?
Mark: Dinner is very important in our family. Also, making time for just the two of us has been really important. And it has really been important to plan ahead and balance both of our careers. Frequently, one of us is asked to do something and the other one has to say no to another opportunity, because those career choices are never as important as our family.

Did either of you ever take your kids to work?
Joyce: I never took maternity leave with either of the boys. I didn't like staying home, and I had a lab to run and a graduate student to oversee, so I really couldn't stay home. I took the boys to my lab with me when they were babies, and they still like going in. They might work in a lab themselves soon.
Mark: It was also fun for me to bring the boys in for rounds. Patients really enjoy meeting kids.

Is there anything you've learned that you wish you'd known when your boys were younger?
Joyce: To relax and laugh more and enjoy your children to the fullest, especially when they are young. It is so amazing how fast time goes by. Don't rush too much—it is not good for your health or for your family. Try to do just a little less, not more—and remember that you can always say "no." Try to keep dinnertime sacred by saying no often to work-related evening activities.

Do you think either of your children will go into medicine or research?
Mark: I don't think medicine, but both of them like science, so that may be a possibility. But we have been very conscious about letting them do what they want to do. Chris's current choice is to be a rock star, a businessman, and then a scientist. Nick is an excellent writer but has a strong love for science, too.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Back to Table of Contents

Dartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College