Reflections about President Schure
Doctoring the Doctor
From the perspective of David Kuo, DO ’96, assistant dean, graduate medical education
by David McKay Wilson
Just three years out of residency, David Kuo, DO ’96, was a bit intimidated when first examining a certain new patient at the PCOM Healthcare Center – Roxborough Division.
The patient was Matthew Schure, PhD, PCOM president and CEO, who has made it a practice to seek his primary care within the College’s four urban Healthcare Centers. There, in the community-based centers, fourth-year medical students work on eight-week rotations under the supervision of PCOM faculty, honing clinical skills while healing some of Philadelphia’s most underserved populations.
On his preliminary exam of Dr. Shure, Dr. Kuo recalls, he was so nervous that he forgot to take Dr. Schure’s blood pressure. He did better in a subsequent physical exam when he detected a nodule on Dr. Schure’s prostate. Dr. Kuo grew more concerned when he saw that the College president’s PSA levels, while still within the normal range, had doubled in a year. He referred Dr. Schure to a urologist, who, following the analysis of a biopsy, confirmed Dr. Kuo’s suspicions. Dr. Schure consequently underwent successful treatment for prostate cancer at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
During the time of his cancer diagnosis, treatment and over the years, Dr. Kuo’s patient has become his mentor as well. “I remain Dr. Schure’s physician, and he still calls me for curbside consults,” says Dr. Kuo. “It has been affirming to have him as an advocate, and nice to have him bounce things off me.”
Dr. Schure has also used his annual physical exam as an opportunity to turn the tables in the physician-patient relationship, and to inquire about the challenges Dr. Kuo faces in his practice and personal life.
“He’d sit there for 15 minutes, asking me about how I was doing,” recalls Dr. Kuo. “That’s the big thing with him—he’s a genuine and kind person. He cares about the whole person; he naturally embraces and acts the Mission of our College.”
Once, Dr. Kuo told Dr. Schure that he felt stressed by all the paperwork his job required. He also acknowledged that he’d often take his charts home and retire to his home office after dinner, while his young children cavorted around the house.
“Dr. Schure cautioned that I needed to spend more time with my family and my kids, before they grew up,” Dr. Kuo recalls. “I heard him, and really took his message to heart. Now, I say it to co-workers and patients all the time. I still need to do work at home, but I wait until the kids are in bed.” Dr. Kuo’s duties at the Healthcare Center, which once required him to be active in clinical situations five days a week, have diminished as he now serves as assistant dean for graduate medical education and runs PCOM’s family medicine residency program.
“Dr. Schure still asks me about my job, and we talk about various medical education issues and approaches,” Dr. Kuo says. “I often ask him about how best to handle things and how to manage those tough situations in the workplace. He gives me the best suggestions off the cuff. I am truly going to miss Dr. Schure—my mentor and friend—in his retirement.”
Legacy in the South
As told by R. Bryan Ginn, Jr., chief campus officer, Georgia Campus – PCOM
By Nancy West
When I joined Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine a year and a half ago, one of the first things I noticed was the family feel of the College. Much of this is driven by the leadership and dynamic that Matthew Schure, PhD, president and chief executive officer, brings to the table. He really has created a “culture of family” at PCOM, and I think that’s a true hallmark of his presidency.
Just having a conversation with Matt, you can see that he’s very focused on the individual he’s talking to at the moment. He recognizes every individual’s value and worth with a great deal of sincerity. As he visits GA-PCOM often, it’s fascinating to watch the president of the institution walking around and calling people by name—people who have been here for some time, and new hires as well. He has a great capacity for recalling people and their families and their special circumstances that he’s come to know. Over the past few years, we’ve experienced tragedies at GA–PCOM—among them, the death of a faculty member and the death of a student. Each time, the empathy and sympathy that Matt expressed touched a lot of folks here. Students, faculty and staff were moved by the way he sincerely reached out in such a compassionate way.
After the tragic loss of a student, Matt flew down late one afternoon from Philadelphia and arrived just in time for the memorial service. He spent time with the family and then had to fly back early the next morning to meet a commitment. The fact that the president took time to come all the way down here for the memorial service was recognized by the students as “awesome.” He was not asked to speak; he was just here, and that made a difference.
Last year when we lost a beloved faculty member, John Kermode, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, Matt reached out to his family numerous times. Just the day before he passed away, Dr. Kermode had been recognized by PCOM School of Pharmacy – Georgia Campus as Professor of the Year for the second year in a row. Matt recognized the loss that his passing represented to the students. The next time he was on campus not long after, he made every effort to reach out to the students and talk with them about Dr. Kermode and the impact he had had on their lives. Matt was very supportive to faculty members as well.
Another hallmark of Matt’s service as president is his great vision and the bold steps he took to expand PCOM into uncharted territory in the South. Recognizing the significant challenges and need for healthcare education in the Southeast in particular, Matt was, in many ways, the first to drive the ball forward and bring PCOM to Georgia. We are fulfilling the mission he envisioned, leading the way in the number of graduates becoming primary care physicians serving the rural population and the underserved in the inner cities in Georgia and the Southeast. This is a definitive testament to Matt’s vision. His legacy will be looming large for years to come here at GA–PCOM.