Educator Encourages Students to Offer Hope Through Volunteer Work | Cardiology Magazine
Profile | “It’s good to become an important person, but it’s more important to be a good person,” is the mantra of Julio Perez, MD, FACC, an educator for the past 34 years at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.
Currently a professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division, Perez notes that he felt he was always meant to teach, “it just came as a natural part of my every day work.” In addition, Perez serves as head of the echocardiography laboratory at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he has taught over 300 cardiology fellows since 1985. “It is one of my most cherished responsibilities, in my role as a clinician and educator, to share my clinical experiences with students and cardiology fellows every day. I learn a great deal from interacting with younger colleagues,” Perez adds.
Perez hopes that his students come away with a willingness to share their knowledge, are generous with their time, become involved in volunteer work and expand their horizons in regards to medical education worldwide.
He shares this guidance knowing first-hand how impactful voluntary mission trip experiences can be. “The most rewarding part of my job has been the interactions I have had with patients or relatives of patients with heart disease. In particular, I was inspired to be able to offer hope for the future after making a diagnosis during a medical mission trip I went on to Nicaragua a few years ago,” he shares.
Perez has also had the opportunity to lecture and teach in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia, which has helped shape who he is today. “I enjoy meeting colleagues from around the world and learning from their own clinical experiences.” Knowing that his achievements are due in part to the mentors, students and trainees he has had the privilege to work alongside, Perez notes, “they have taught me the correct principles of patient care, to be compassionate toward patients and families, and to be considerate to colleagues and co-workers.”
In particular, he recognizes the mentors and teachers from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, where he attended medical school, along with Burton Sobel, MD, FACC, Philip Henry, MD, FACC, and Philip Ludbrook, MBBS, FACC, who were involved with his training at Washington University School of Medicine, and Harvey Feigenbaum, MD, FACC, Miguel Quinones, MD, MACC, Douglas Mann, MD, FACC, and Roberto Lang, MD FACC, for their encouragement and friendship over the years.
Perez’ advice for those hoping to pursue the educator path is to “incorporate medical education in daily activities and be generous with time given to students and younger colleagues.”
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