2021 Central Region House Staff Resident Teacher of the Year
Dr. Maulin Patel is a tech and numbers enthusiast, and, like many mathematically minded people, he is also a bit of a perfectionist. He said the mentors and leaders he met at Geisinger helped him take his drive for excellence and mold it into an empathetic communications style that has made him a better clinician and resulted in his award for Central Region House Staff Resident Teacher of the Year for 2021.
Dr. Patel grew up in Brooklyn and, as early as his high school years, he shadowed physicians and volunteered at his local hospital. “I always knew I wanted to be a doctor,” he said. “But I also love physics and how numbers can be used to describe reality and how things function. So, medicine attracted me because its practitioners manage the most complex systems known. I chose to pursue cardiology because it requires an understanding of the practical application of physics – pump mechanics, the electrophysiology, echocardiography – all of that is using our understanding of the sciences to help people.”
After completing medical school at New York Institute of Technology in Long Island, N.Y., Dr. Patel matched at Geisinger for internal medicine. When he arrived as a new resident, he took his teaching role seriously and applied his customary analytical approach. “I tend to be perfectionist and so I approached teaching in the way I want to be taught. I would make it a point to teach every day. I had daily learning points. It was more a strict curriculum than natural progress,” he said. Dr. Patel soon learned his method was falling flat with some of his learners. “I got a lot of feedback from the fantastic faculty who mentored me over past three years,” he said. “They told me I needed to change, that I needed to consider the wants and needs of my learners.” Dr. Patel then displayed the best attribute of an outstanding resident: He accepted the criticism gracefully and was open to change. “That’s how my teaching style evolved,” he said. “I began to cater to the tactics and techniques that the learners preferred. I let them show me what they wanted to learn and guided them toward that path. That made me a better teacher.”
The teaching and learning experience at Geisinger, Dr. Patel believes, also enhanced his ability to care for patients. “Being a good educator, a good provider and a good colleague are all connected,” he said. “I try to understand where people are coming from and then meet them halfway.” He credits Geisinger faculty with burnishing that skill. “Geisinger is a fantastic place to train,” he said. “The system is amazing in what it does for its patients. The nurses and ancillary staff are incredible. And as a techie, I love that the tech is outstanding. But above all, it’s the leadership. They are truly role models of who you should strive to be. My mentors at Geisinger made my career a priority. They made me a better educator, a better clinician, a better colleague – just a better person all around.”