While completing an infectious disease fellowship at Rush, Joel Spear, MD, GME (at left), did some early research on azidothymidine (AZT), an antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV/AIDS.
"My work at Rush was a springboard for my practice," said Spear, now the chief medical officer at Presence Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. One of the first hospitals in Chicago to have a dedicated HIV unit, Saint Joseph has been actively involved in both HIV care and in research on new treatments.
Spear, who has been with the hospital since 1990, also has served as its chairperson of the Department of Medicine. "I practice about 25 percent of the time," he said, "providing HIV care and general infectious disease consultation work in the hospital."
As a hospital administrator, Spear has taken with him management skills that he learned from mentors such as Stuart Levin, MD, who recently retired as Rush's chairperson of internal medicine. "To be a good doctor," Spear said, "you have to listen before you make a decision, whether it's a diagnosis or a political decision, and the skills transfer from good clinical work to good leadership."