Our very own Dr. Robert Duffey was interviewed by North Carolina Medical Society, read the entire interview...

1. What is a quote that has significantly influenced your life and why? Dr Duffey resized

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler 

I’ll be honest, I just searched for quotes on empathy and picked this one. I feel that being a physician is about connecting with your patients who have given you this gift of trust. The only way to properly honor that, I feel, is to do your best to try and see the situation from their perspective.

2. Where are you from? 

I am originally from Riverhead, NY (Long Island).

3. Why did you decide to become a physician?

I was interested in science and math in college and planned to do basic science research. However, I worked in a lab during the summer after my second year of college and absolutely hated it! At that point I changed to pre-med and was able to cram in all the requirements and apply to med school directly from college. I was not sure at that point that I wanted to be a physician. I enjoyed med school and went on to a pediatric residency where I really fell in love with all of it! I loved the interpersonal aspect, the science and the art of medicine as a career. I really lucked out!

4. What do you like about practicing in an underserved area?

I have always worked with underserved populations and feel most comfortable there. I feel that my work is truly appreciated and needed. Feeling useful while doing what you love is very fulfilling.

5. Is your practice using any tools to address social determinates of health for patients?

Our practice utilizes a social worker who goes in with all Medicaid patients before the physician to address SDOH. It is part of our MA’s workflow to address these questions for non-Medicaid patients. It is also part of our physician workflow to ask these questions. We have a simple, direct referral process for any positives.

6. What impact has the Covid-19 pandemic had on your practice and what are some of the changes you have made.

Our practice really came together and flexed its power as an independent entity during COVID. We quickly implemented sweeping changes in schedule and solved logistical issues (i.e., put up walls, set up committees to ensure proper PPE, appointed COVID champions to ensure proper following of CDC protocols, etc.). We even changed how we were all paid to ensure that the practice would be able to react quickly on the business side to stay open during all aspects of the pandemic. I was and still am so proud of our response.

7. Do you have any hobbies or activities for self-care?

I enjoy spending time with my family in the beautiful outdoors of Western North Carolina. The mountains are very therapeutic!


Original interview posted here ncmedsoc.org.