Robert B. McLafferty, MD, MBA grew up in Maine and did his undergraduate studies in Biology at Boston College. He then attended the University of Vermont, School of Medicine and from there went to Oregon Health & Science University to complete a residency in General Surgery and fellowship in Vascular Surgery. He joined the faculty in the Division of Vascular Surgery at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois where he participated in a robust academic surgery practice for 15 years and rose to the rank of Professor of Surgery in 8 years. He came back to OHSU and joined the Vascular Surgery Division as Professor of Surgery 2013 and is also the Medical Director of the Wound and Hyperbaric Center. From 2013 to 2019, he served the Chief of Surgery for the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System, one of the largest in the VA system. During that time, he obtained a Healthcare MBA from the combined program of Portland State University and OHSU. Dr. McLafferty is internationally known amongst his peers in vascular surgery. He is Distinguished Fellow in the Society for Vascular Surgery and a Past-President of the American Venous Forum, the Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery and the Vascular Disease Foundation. He directs a national conference entitled Modern Wound Care Management. Aside from his passion for medicine, he is an avid dad, musician, yogi, fitness geek, cook, traveler and loves all things outdoors.
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PHYSICIANS BY PHYSICIANS. It showcases unique physician talents, whether it be in the form of writing, painting, creating cookie masterpieces, or storming capital hill in the name of healthcare advocacy. Use promo code RxforSuccess to get three months free when selecting the monthly option. https://rxforsuccesspodcast.com/physicianoutlook
Dr. McLafferty’s Prescription for Success:
Number 1: Listen more, ask questions, talk less.
Number 2: If you want something in medicine, and maybe anything in life, YOU have to lead it.
Number 3: Coaches and mentors are very important, and you should not be afraid to ask them for help.
Number 4: Never stop learning in a formal way
Number 5: Be present. Opportunities are always around the corner.
Number 6: Take time for yourself.
Connect with Dr. McLafferty:
Dr. McLafferty on Twitter
Dr. McLafferty’s Music on YouTube
Email Dr. Mclafferty at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notable quotes from Dr. McLafferty’s interview:
I just really really wanted to go to medical school. I was consumed by it at the time.
It’s incredibly ironic how these twists and turns in life take you.
I think we gravitate towards people that we tend to identify with from a personality trait basis.
You can work hard, play hard, and relax hard.
It’s funny. You knock on the door, and kind of share your thoughts with someone, and before you know it, they are making you the medical director.
You want to take something to the finish line, you got to be ready for some steps backwards
Collaboration always pays off. Always.
Access the Show Transcript Here
78. The Chief: Robert B. Mclafferty, Md, Mba
2021, Dr. Randy Cook
Rx for Success Podcast
[0:00] This is funny you know you just knock on the door and just kind of share your thoughts with somebody before you know it they’re making you the medical director.
[0:14] Paging dr. cook paging dr. cook dr. cook you’re wanted in the OR.
[0:45] Hello everyone and welcome to prescription for Success I’m dr. Randy cook your host for the podcast which is a production of MD coaches.
Providing leadership and Executive coaching for Physicians by physicians to overcome burnout transition your career.
Develop as a leader or whatever your goal might be.
Visit MD coaches on the web at my MD coaches.com because you’re not in this alone.
[1:15] My guest today is a well-known and highly respected figure within the specialty of vascular surgery.
In addition his name is very familiar with in the discipline of chronic wound care and Hyperbaric medicine so let’s hear my conversation with dr. Robert mclafferty.
[1:40] Privilege it is today from me to be speaking with dr. Robert mcclafferty,
vascular surgeon and how do I phrase this the originator and I’m sure the chief of the Hyperbaric medicine in chronic wound care service at
Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland right.
[2:02] Yes it’s an honor it’s an honor to join you well thank you so much for being with us Rob I’m really looking forward to the conversation we are
kindred spirits and the wound care world so I’m going to be interested to get caught up on the things that have happened in the two years since I officially retired
but we’re going to begin by talking about you and how you got started I know that you grew up in Bangor Maine
and I’m interested to know when you had the first inkling that you were headed for a career in medicine
well I’d have to say that I had always had an interest in science as a kid I
I had collected everything from insects to butterflies to have a little electrical kits growing up and I definitely gravitated The Sciences and my dad.
I had always thought to be a dentist would be a great career and yeah it wasn’t until I had a girlfriend in high school whose mother worked in healthcare.
And she looked at me in a certain way and just said you know you really need to be a doctor you will be a great doctor and.
It just got me thinking about medicine and.
[3:17] And that was probably around my sophomore or Junior year in high school and I always had an interest in medicine or dentistry and.
And then it went right to surgery I knew at that point in time I wanted I wanted to be a surgeon and in fact I thought I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon that’s what that was my my goal in high school.
What do you think it was about you that your girlfriend fixated on that gave her that idea I don’t know I think you know I you know you go back to your old
High School loves and I had spent a lot of time over to at their home and I got to know their entire family and I used to go you know deer hunting and fishing with.
Her father and I’m still friends with her now actually we’ve kept in touch and I still keep in contact with their mom when I when I go back to me and occasionally I think she just took the time to
translated in a way that made me reflect and maybe saw some potential in me to be able to do something like that and so once you.
Start thinking about it and then use to put your mind to it you’re like well you know this I can do this so that’s my message that’s kind of how it evolved yeah well it sounds like.
[4:30] She was a bit of a Visionary and yeah and it certainly has turned out well
for you so at the point where you matriculated at Boston College you knew that medicine was,
where you were headed as a right yeah I hit the doors running wanting to get into medical school from the very first day and wanting to be a surgeon from the day I hit BC as a freshman.
[4:53] I’m curious what do you think it was it that early point I mean you had a lot of head of you at that time of what what do you think it was that made you think that surgery was right for you
I just had loved doing things with my hands and at the time I you know I thought I had died
I had a kind of a softness for for kids
and I just I don’t know it’s really hard to it’s kind of hard to put into words just the whole I guess there was some Romanticism or behind surgery
and thinking that I was actually going to be doing something with my hands and helping someone heal and that way and
the fit was right as I as I finally got to medical school and then off to general surgery
it’s hard to think I guess at that age that it had anything to do with wisdom yeah that obviously the obviously it was a good fit for you and you were
you were a Magna graduated Boston College and made the decision to go to University of Vermont for
medical school I’m guessing you could have had your pick amongst a few different schools with that Scholastic record how’d you happen to pick for my
well it was actually the state of I’m you know as a resident of the state of Maine and Maine does not have a medical school
I was not aware of that yet they don’t have I think that I’m pretty sure they have a Deo School in Portland.
[6:19] But then you do not have an MD school and so at that time in the mid 80s the University of Vermont had,
I think 15 designated seats for Maine residents
and Tufts University had three so I had I think I had applied to maybe 10 or 15 medical schools
and as soon as I got into University of Montana early and as soon as I got in I knew that’s where I wanted to go I just loved it there and that’s how it evolved and the way it worked was you know because
my parents didn’t have a whole lot of money and I had to finance my own education and so the state of Maine paid for my my tuition,
and I either had to give them back time in the state-run practice in Maine.
Or pay them back and ultimately ended up paying them back and I’m not sure whether they still have that program now in the state of Maine but it was really.
[7:18] Great for me and in fact two of my roommates were also part of that program and both are practicing in main one in Pediatrics.
And the other in Radiology that we just happened to be in the same house together in medical school
and I meant to ask you earlier I hate to backtrack here but I’m curious it sounds like from what you’re saying that there weren’t really any medical influencers in your family you are no doctors nurses,
those shorts I’m the first physician in my family and the first two.
[7:51] That’s the first to have a graduate degree I would say that I had peripheral exposure to Medicine my.
My mother was a hospital administrator for many many years growing up and my parents divorced early but,
she worked her way up through the ranks in in the Humana Corporation and was transferred to several different cities and I got to see some of it through her eyes and then,
my My Father’s Side my grandfather his father owned a small town drug store.
In northern Maine I mean the classic privately-owned Rexall pharmacy.
[8:30] And had it for over 70 years wow my father’s older brother took it over and they were both pharmacists.
So there was a little bit of medicine mixed in there but as far as anybody in the family being an MD I was I was the first.
And getting you back to medical school once there it sounds like from what you’re telling me even from the very beginning.
You were very confident that you were right where you needed to be yeah I would have to say that I was completely devoted to getting into medical school in fact.
I had you know I had a wonderful time and undergraduate at Boston College and good friends and you know but I feel I worked pretty hard.
I studied a lot but also had a lot of fun but everything I did in undergrad.
[9:20] I was dedicated to getting into medical school in fact I can remember they used to be this I think it was some sort of counselor or pre-med advisor for BC.
[9:34] It used to drive that guy crazy as I meet with them all the time and and you could actually,
get this like little evaluation that you could give your professors that that would then go to him.
To help write a recommendation for medical school and I actually made a point to meet personally face-to-face with every single one of my professors at the end of the class to tell them how important it was that I went to medical school,
and have them fill this out and turned it in I bet that got their attention yeah well you know I was just I just really really,
I really wanted to go to medical school there I was consumed but with it at the time you know very passionate about it
well that certainly comes through in the conversation and the interesting thing to me at this point is you’re a native New Englander you really been you’ve really been
staying pretty close to home up to this point
and then comes time to pick a place for your postgraduate education and you decide to go all the way to the other side of the country to Portland Oregon so what went into that decision
it’s a great question.
[10:49] So in my medical school it was the last two years like I think most medical schools they encourage you particularly the last year to kind of go visit other places and do rotations
I came to to Oregon to do a rotation in general surgery and at the time I had it was actually my wife-to-be.
At the time she came as well and we were seeing each other she was in my class.
And we came to it we came to Oregon and an interestingly we did not have the best experience as medical students in our fourth year rotations here in fact.
[11:30] It’s increase incredibly ironic how these twists and turns in life take you but,
the two of us went into the couple’s match and we ranked probably I don’t know
maybe somewhere between 10 and 15 places and at that time in the late 80s surgery it was surgery and OBGYN
and we did not rank Oregon because we just even though we like the city and the place we just,
as I have to say that as medical students we had some serious tunnel vision at the time and the day before the match
we found out that we did not match,
probably one of the lowest days in my medical career I bet yeah and you know but this you know this is a great story of.
You can create these these hardships and turn them into opportunities and at the time they that can still remember the,
program director of OHSU calling Erica myself up and saying would you like a preliminary spot the both of you.
[12:43] In surgery and we said hell yeah
we’ll take a preliminary spot we need a job so you know it’s so we graduated from medical school and you know and you know least we had a job for a year as an intern so I.
So Erica and I came out to Oregon and and I just you know she did a year of surgery and applied for the OBGYN program in at OHSU and got in
and I just worked my tail off as an intern and I got a categorical spot at OHSU.
And absolutely love the residency and I’m it’s almost like.
[13:28] I couldn’t have been in a better place to do my residency working with Don trunky.
And so many other really great people in in surgery I mean it just changed my life changed my life story.
Yeah you know I don’t think there’s anybody in the medical world in this country that doesn’t remember match day.
Hey yeah and especially especially Eric and I that day you know you know fortunately for me and I don’t,
I don’t think it had anything to do with my level of Brilliance or my or my desirability or anything of that nature but I matched with my number one choice
but they were a dozen or so people in the room there were just incredibly talented brilliant people that didn’t.
And the despair was just so unbelievably apparent and in nowadays you know you had to at the couple’s match I can’t imagine the level of
despair that the two of you must have been feeling for at least a day or two yeah I mean it was
we both did well in medical school who weren’t at the top of our class but you know at the time it was very competitive residencies and you’re trying to you’ve got to match both.
[14:47] Let’s try no yes it’s either it’s either both or none
so looking back it wasn’t too surprising but I’m actually glad it happened the way it happened probably you are everything I mean I just loved doing my residency here really
wonderful place apart from the Department of surgery what is it about Portland that you found so desirable,
we’re in the 90s and even today the Portland in the entire state of Oregon.
Is just a very special place with regards to just the livability of the city the closeness of the coast the closeness of Mount Hood.
And the you know National Forest there’s within an hour’s drive right in that 40 40 minute drive there’s you know 500 wineries in the Willamette Valley you know it’s just a really.
Amazing place and it was at that time in the early 90s it was having a just a kind of a foodie Renaissance and the city was just,
getting a lot of great press it hasn’t had the best press you know over the last couple of years during covid but interest but interestingly me living.
[16:02] Less than two miles from the epicenter of lot of was hitting the news I often didn’t even know it was going on was so it was so it just guys kind of shows you know differences in how the media can.
[16:13] Play something while in real life at times it may not be the reality I’m not surprised to hear that yeah at all because,
well and we could do an entire show on just exactly the nature of the news but yeah I want to make this about you and,
and getting back to your intended purpose when you began when you,
got into your internship or at least your first year did it become evident right away that vascular was where you wanted to go.
No no I was still very interested in pediatric surgery and I didn’t have a guaranteed spot for categorical to until the towards the end of
internship it was kind of a nail-biter I actually don’t one of my week one of my week vacations too
interview for second-year musicians I think at three or four other places just to make sure you didn’t get overconfident
yeah and and ice and someone dropped out of the program actually two people dropped out and there were two preliminaries that got spots and I was one of them thank God and.
[17:25] And Karen deveney who is The Residency director you know saw,
I guess saw something that was worth keeping at OHSU and I can’t thank her enough for that choice she made to keep me in The Residency program you know so well not only did they keep you in The Residency program but.
But you stayed there through a couple of fellowships and got qualified for your vascular boards which,
I mean it sounds like you were more than happy to stay right there in that area yeah you know in two things happen in pediatric two things happen I did pediatric surgery
rotation my second year and I realized that.
I was I did not have the right personality fit to have three patients instead of one pediatric surgery and it just to I’m going to let you go go ahead and expound on that because there may actually be people
in the audience that don’t understand what that means but well tell the story not having kids at that time in my life
we were in the classic training period of residency you know we were working over 120 hours a week with one day off a month.
[18:41] This was way before they made all the changes in general surgery yeah and you feel fortunate to have a job right yeah absolutely and.
And still had a great time and had fun you know at the time and when I did pediatric surgery.
The attendings were present and often you know particularly in the operating room but the chief resident was running the show and the junior Resident was taken care of the ward.
And you were the point man with the patient and the parents right you are often the point man or person.
And I can remember oh my goodness I can remember
and this isn’t a criticism to the amazing attendings I worked with because that’s just the way surgery was back then I can remember there was like an eight-year-old it was killed in a car accident or not killed but basically brain dead.
Came in essentially brain-dead and was on the ventilator and I was a second-year resident and.
[19:43] I talk to the attending at home.
[19:46] I told them that the I see you said you know that this this poor kid is brain dead he’s not shown any function on the ventilator and I can remember going in.
[19:56] As a second-year and telling those parents myself that you know their son was dead,
and you know and I just was I just just I was it was incredibly hard and I knew that kind of been that rotation that.
This this particular specialty of surgery was not the best fit for me having.
Two other patients besides the one that you were actually driven care of and once you’re a parent as I am now you begin to understand understand that and you know and getting back to your original question about what gravitated toward
how do I gravitate towards vascular that happened as a third-year resident on when I was doing my VA rotation I think we gravitate towards.
[20:44] People that we tend to identify with kind of from a personality trait basis we like the spent you know the specialty all the Specialties have.
Kind of different types of personality traits that are attracted to those types of Specialties so true and yeah especially in you know maybe in all all.
All types of jobs and when I was working on vascular I love the.
Fact that you know you could operate almost anywhere in the body it was very technical I like the fact that you follow the patients for life.
I like the fact that there was this new level of evolving catheter-based technologies that we’re coming up I like the fact that you could do vascular medicine as well as faster surgery,
and the attendings I just really identified with and they changed my life when I did a year research after my third year.
[21:43] Of residents I always like to say that the five most influential people in my life were my mother and father.
And then my three attendings and vascular surgery when I did research I mean they changed my life In terms that’s profound,
pursuing a career in academic surgery area yeah
hi I’m Rhonda Crow founder and CEO Forum D coaches here on RX for Success we interview a lot of great medical professionals on how they grew their careers
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[24:17] So you stayed right there right there where you had learned to love being at home yeah and Portland Oregon.
Yeah did my bachelor fellowship at OHSU did two fellowships and comes the time when you’re all finished up.
And you make the move to Springfield Illinois considering how much I know you were enamored with state of Oregon I’d like to know more about that decision.
You know it’s funny I always like to say I came to Oregon a single man even though I was in the couple’s match and an Erica.
Came with me and she got into OBGYN but when I left Oregon.
[25:00] I was married I had two dogs and two kids.
[25:06] So in eight years was a very formative eight years I’ll say yeah very formative and so I remember John Porter who’s a very well-known vascular surgeon,
now no longer living had called me into his office and he said you need to look at the job at SIU you look you need to go out there and interview I said
yes sir will do it this is Southern Illinois University for the audio yes yes Southern Illinois University in Springfield the undergraduate campuses in Carbondale but the medical school is in Springfield which is the capital
so I flew out there and do you know what what do you know what led him to be so so forceful with their recommendation.
I think he knew that the program had academic potential.
[25:59] And Roland folse role in false was the chair at the time very well-known chair and education and you know Siu’s a relatively young program here it is I think the medical school was formed in the early 70s.
And you know rolling Falls came in as the first chair and brought all these these vondrak kids in a division chairs.
And I’m embarrassed that I’m blanking it a name of the division chair of asker.
Right now maybe it’ll come to me and then he was stepping down and Kim Hodgson who’s a you know very well known vascular surgeon took over when
went out there but when I went out I noticed that hey did you know there’s support for research here and,
and there’s you know I’m going to get to operate and I’m also going to get to learn endovascular so that was in 1998 the endovascular world was taking off in.
[26:54] Vascular surgery it was a very tormented time for in our profession.
Because there was a lot of old school vascular surgeons who said this should be done by Radiologists or Interventional radiologist and there was a lot of new school.
[27:06] And I came from an old school program.
But then I went to the new school program and learned all my catheter-based skills and just yeah I mean dr. Porter was right so and my.
[27:19] My wife at the time was able to she was able to get a job full-time and OBGYN.
[27:26] And so now is she in private practice or did she stay an academic so she stayed in academics as well in fact she still there she’s she’s the program director for The Residency program.
And she’s been there since 98 and she’s doing an outstanding job and and yeah basically my raise my kids in the Midwest and.
Wouldn’t wouldn’t change it at all I was just absolutely loved living in Springfield and great place to raise a family just a wonderful place to raise a family,
and sounds like it was really exceptionally good
for you as well I mean you were a full Professor within five years and I gather really developed her chops as a researcher in that environment so
no complaints right.
[28:14] No complaints absolutely love to Gary dunnington took over as the chair when rolling full step down he’s now the chair at Indiana University Gary dunnington was probably you know my main mentor
at SIU as a faculty young faculty member and I can remember.
Two years in to my tenure there I was there for 15 years and the chairman of the department comes into my office.
And he says to me Rob are you available to play golf on Thursday afternoons regularly and I said.
And here we are we’re in the midst of you know where’s this is very traditional academics you know I right I’m training fellows we got residents we get you know we’re doing research we’re operating our brains out have just having a great time and I said.
I yes yes sir I am I am available and and so.
And you know I look back and I said boy you know everybody that Gary dunnington asked to play golf with him he basically
S I think about six young faculty members all assistant professors and you know there was always four of us available on a third if we weren’t traveling on vacation or something.
Yeah and that was his way of.
[29:39] Building commitment that was his way of mentoring I’ll never you know for probably ten years I was playing golf on Thursday afternoons with the chairman and to other faculty member and we talked about things in the department.
And myself and all of these other young faculty members are all now either chairs or division Chiefs and we pretty impressive and all of us were the highest rvu producers,
in the department and we I mean I saw I was the vice chair for clinical operations I saw the numbers,
that’s very impressive and it just was like you know you can kind of work hard and.
And play hard and relax hard you know you can you can do those things and Gary always used to say he said he would say to the faculty.
I don’t want you to be the best in the world at something at the cost of everything else in your life,
I want you to how I want you to be good at things I want you to be good with your family I want you to be good at surgery or should be a good Community person.
You don’t have to be the best.
[30:48] You know he was just an amazing chair I just we had I think seven Time full time faculty at the time was a small Department with a large contingent.
Of community-based Surgeons that were assisting with the residency and when he left for IU year before I left,
I don’t want to exaggerate but it was somewhere between 60 and 65 full-time faculty in the department he was a recruiting machine to Springfield Illinois,
and at least half of them were women to which to his credit he was a Visionary that was score to yeah.
Well I have to tell you I I’m envious I wish that I had been around someone like that in my formative days and not try to take over the story but I’ll give you a little
personal anecdote here sure did my surgery training in a place called Augusta Georgia
and I wouldn’t play golf because I was afraid if somebody saw me having fun they might think I was lazy.
Exactly it’s not you can always head I hear a squash that you got,
yeah that’s so and not that my chairman was a bad guy it’s just that you didn’t invite me to play golf on Wednesdays but that’s,
another story but yeah what man I’m telling you you just keep landed in the right place and.
[32:13] After that 15 years you made the decision to go back to Portland is that because you were seeking another opportunity or did they recruit you well ago so
Gary dunnington stepped down as chair and took the job at IU a year prior to me leaving literally when he announced his
that he was leaving to the faculty that same day the dean sent out an email saying that.
We have a lot of really talented internal candidates I want to do an internal search First and for chair and I was you know full and you had to be a full professor.
Bright so I was a full Professor probably now six years in and you know I was really at the peak of my practice I was doing tons of research I was operating a lot I was involved in a lot of community and administrative work,
which I was really loving and I was the only faculty member that applied for the job that wasn’t a division.
Chief so I think 55 division Chief supplied and myself and went through the you know the interview process.
[33:22] Which was you know fun I enjoyed it actually and the two finalists were myself and
very good friend of mine who I played golf with on Thursdays Mike knew my sister who is now who became the chief of plastic surgery
and and I didn’t get the job and Mike got the job one and you know he well-deserved well-known plastic surgeon internationally he is still the chair there.
[33:51] And know when I didn’t get the job I was I got an email within like it’s like one door closes.
And before you know it another one opens and I got I got a.
Email or maybe I saw a friend at a meeting who is on the faculty at OHSU Erica Mitchell and she had said hey you know dr. Edwards is stepping down from Chief at the VA.
You should look at that job you should look at that job and I said well.
I think I might I you know my kids are in high school now.
[34:28] My wife at the time and I were going to be empty nesters coming up and so Portland was still very near and dear to us.
So I went out and interviewed.
You know was able to join the faculty at OHSU and do some part-time work over there and and they hired me as chief of surgery and then.
At the time the Hope was that kind of transition Erica to coming out and then you know my kids ended up going off to college and the rest is kind of History I’ve been I’ve been here in Oregon since 2013.
So that was I was interested in what happened with your kids so they were they were both able to finish High School.
[35:09] Yeah in fact I was flying back every other or every third weekend it’s funny when your kids are in high school and I got driver’s licenses there.
Even when you’re home they’re not around very much yeah that’ll show you so I actually I actually felt like I was able to,
not miss too many of their events and things going back for three-day weekends every you know every,
two to three weeks and then you know take family vacations as well you know sure so do either of the pair of them have any interest in medicine at all yes well my son is actually a first year medical student at Tulane Medical School
right now yeah and my daughter who was kind of.
Towing between medicine and Dentistry is now a first-year dental student at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville,
yeah yeah very successful kids that’s good for you yeah well I’d say it’s a we could do a whole other podcast just done you know kids and,
Jimmy bit and their and their Journeys themselves you know and but I’m very proud of them when they told me their acceptances I cried so how is just so happy yeah.
[36:22] Well that’s good so let’s get you back in Portland chief of the VA and back in what,
had to have seemed like going back home tell us the story of what happened next well I joined the VA and
I loved I loved working in the in the VA was the director of the the operative division as well as the chief of surgery and
VA there is
definitely the top 10 busiest va’s in the nation is about 150 or 152 VA hospitals and they have these one a hospitals which are there tertiary care hospitals the ones that are primarily associated with medical schools.
And you know we were doing liver transfer they still are doing liberal transplant at the time they were doing between 200-300 Hearts the interesting thing about the VA job that I took,
was we were over a lot of non-traditional departments so there you know Dentistry reported to me that Sheaf of Dentistry the chief of Ophthalmology the the chief of Gynecology reported to me,
frightened that and so what was what was wonderful about that is I learn so much about just how hospitals run.
[37:42] Ophthalmology service runs and how a Dentistry service runs and and while I was in that role I also got my MBA.
[37:53] Which was just a probably one of the funnest things I’ve ever done when it comes to learning it was a combined classroom and virtual three-year program between.
[38:07] Portland State University and Oregon Health and organ Health and Science University I’m fascinated by what was it that made it fun.
Well it taught you a lot of things that you that you don’t learn in medical school you know you learn more about the business side of medicine you’ll learn more about the leadership side of medicine learn about the economics
you learn about program development and project project management,
you learn just how to manage you learn about Finance all kinds of different things at all he’ll it was all Health Care based well I was just going to ask you was this this particular MBA was,
apparently aligned with a focus on Health Care delivery yes yeah it’s a it was it wasn’t an mha,
which you know is a masters in healthcare administration it was an MBA,
with all the MBA requisites but yeah but all focused on Healthcare which will likely see how that,
that would have made it a lot easier to swallow then some of the other Executive MBA programs that I’ve seen and this one you know I can literally remember doing things at my job.
While I was in this in this getting this degree I mean we were learning things that I like in project management that I really things I didn’t know about and how to apply those those things too.
[39:26] Getting getting things done so it’s fun a lot of fun yeah it sounds like it was and.
And then the next thing that came up was your interest in chronic wound care or I guess that was
where it came up was or was he was quite was chronic wound care something that you had had an interest in for a while,
II was the medical director of the wound care center in Springfield and I see ya
at the time when I was there and it was diverse fide Clinical Services Associated it said that was a wound care company a national Healthcare company that was very familiar with it I was on their teaching fighting for a while yeah oh wonderful
so you kind of know how they evolved into Hill on Rice which is a I think that combined with them American
wound care or something I think something like that when they took my two companies National wound healing.
Yeah National won’t heal yes they combine the two to form he Logics and so I enjoy wound care vascular surgeon see a lot of wounds,
and so when I came to be the chief at the VA.
Always yes you did not have Hyperbaric therapy or a wound care center and this is a 700 Bud 700 Bed Hospital.
[40:45] And so I went and met with the c-suite I went with his chief operating officer just because I wanted to share with him.
[40:53] That there were missing an opportunity here you bet yeah huge opportunity you know there was maybe one other hospital that had hyperbaric oxygen at the time.
[41:03] And this is the main tertiary Care Center for all of Oregon and so.
[41:09] This is funny you know you just knock on a door and just kind of share your thoughts with somebody and before you know it they’re working with Hill Logics and before you know it.
[41:18] They’re making you the medical director and you go and so I was the medical director,
over there while I was Chief at the VA it took about three years to get the program up and running the contracts and the actual Center built.
And it opened in December of 2016 and so that’s kind of my my Evolution to wound care
and I still do open vascular surgery and endovascular surgery and do all those things as well but
my transition out of the VA was probably a little earlier than I had wanted but I think you know there’s something to be said for I don’t know why I don’t know I don’t want to use the term necessarily
burnout I was initially burned out but I had been there almost 7 years as chief.
[42:07] And I was approached by OHSU to see if they wanted me to kind of workout in a small partner hospital that they had out on the coast.
And you know I felt like I had had a host of major accomplishments at the VA and a good relationship with my team.
And another opportunity had Arisen and I said well I’m I’ll just make the change you know and let someone else take the helm and I will say.
You know the VA is,
it’s an amazing system they take very good care of the veterans it’s a very accountable organization but one of the things that struggles with and I think it still does struggle with is it’s.
The stability of its leadership
in the hospitals and in the Integrated Service networks in the Visions in the time that I was at the VA I was there for six and a half years we had seven CEOs of the hospital seven
semi-dried – 7 directors and I had my boss the chief of staff change five times
so that’s challenging because you got a tip when you’re trying to build like a hybrid room.
Or you’re trying to buy a robot for the for your docs you got to tell that story.
[43:31] Over and over and over a different teams right to get the funding when a new CEO comes in our new director comes in they’re not just going to agree to everything the previous one was doing.
So you got to tell your story again I just felt like I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish and there’s a new opportunity and you know frankly my career is it’s winding down a little bit I mean I’m you know the average
surgeons careers about 30 years you know from 35 to 65 or 30 32 to 62 and I’m I just turned 58 so I’m,
kind of on the on the other side of the bell curve now and loving it and loving it yeah well that’s good so,
have you got a timeline set this this may be something that you don’t want to that you want to disclose but what’s the.
What’s the strategy going forward you know as we get older health is I think a very important part of factors into our.
Psyche and also.
Wanting to be able to you know just do some other things in your life and contribute in other ways that you know that.
[44:40] That you haven’t been able to do and so I think I’ll probably retire or at least semi-retire in.
Maybe when I’m 62 know maybe you know stops you know maybe step out of the operating room at 62.
And you know maybe just begin to work.
And do some you know office space procedures stuff and maybe some Clinic stuff part time and then you know.
Do some things that do some travel and spend some time with my kids you know and just begin another Journey do some other things
somehow I don’t foresee you sitting on the porch and watching the flowers No in fact this it this this Desmond got me interested in this empty coaches and
I think it’s a fascinating program and very interested in looking at getting the getting the training for to potentially be a coach
well it’s been a vet very satisfying transition for me and.
[45:37] I have to show you certainly have the experience and I think the temperament to be a very good coach so I hope you’ll keep it in mind.
[45:45] They could be good at oh definitely absolutely absolutely well Rob listen I have really enjoyed hearing about
the story of the trajectory of your career
lot of inspiring information in there and I bet we’re going to have some listeners that I get a little jolt of inspiration from that.
I’m sure we will but we are at the point in the program that I look forward to the most and that is when I get out of your way,
so I’m going to close my Mike and dr. Robert mcclafferty is going to give us his personal prescriptions for success,
well thanks so much I’ve made a little list here of notes and there are no particular order of importance but I wanted to share them with all of you.
When I reflect back in my own career in terms of what.
[46:40] I think has helped make me successful and I think more importantly happy the things I’ve noted down our listen more ask questions.
And talk less that’s something that probably in the last 10 to 15 years of my career has,
paid off immensely compared to when I was a young buck in surgery under number two I have if you want something in medicine and maybe anything in life you and I have you all capitalized
you have to lead it which means nobody is going to come necessarily out of the goodness of their hearts and do it for you.
But if you do it people will join you in doing it and in that same vein I think we need to have resilience because there’s going to be constant setbacks and.
If you want to take something to the Finish Line you got to be ready for those steps backwards but commit to taking things to the finish line.
It can be done I’m a big fan of collaboration I think it’s for the most part 99.9% of the time or a hundred percent of the time a really good thing collaboration.
Always pays off always and you can’t be afraid in the business of Medicine.
[48:01] To make yourself vulnerable meaning reaching out with an olive leaf to maybe a competitor.
To see how you can collaborate from an education standpoint it’s always a good thing
I think in our world of medicine we need to invite evaluation particularly 360 evaluation and we need to know.
How our peers and our team at every little level both vertically and horizontally is viewing us we need to invite that coaches and mentors are very important but I also think.
You should use them when you need them and not be afraid to ask for help.
[48:41] You don’t necessarily have to have the coach all the time but I ran in my career transitions I would seek out a coach and meet with that person someone who really had nothing to do with.
[48:53] No skin in that game and it’s always been very helpful for me I’m a big fan of recognizing hard work sacrifice showing appreciation and giving shoutouts.
I have something personally that I do called thank you cards on Monday just like Jimmy Fallon does on The Tonight Show he writes those little joking thank you card so I have right on my desk here box of thank you cards and when Monday rolls around.
I will hand write a thank you card.
To somebody I did that as chief of surgery whether it was a nurse administrator you can be anybody that kind of charms you or did something for you that week or that.
Quarter or year and those things make a huge difference I think it’s important to read I can’t.
Emphasize the importance of reading and whether it’s a leadership book I’m a big fan of non fiction adventure stories like nonfiction and if you want to my my
my favorite leadership book of all time which also has a lot of
historical nonfiction action is something is a book called shackleton’s way it’s about the Explorer Shackleton trying to make it to the South Pole.
And these two.
Social scientists were women analyze his actions and how he got every man back alive.
[50:19] From that 2-year awful experience in the South Pole it’s Anna it’s a great leadership.
Book just a few more here never stop learning in a formal way we’ve talked about the MBA.
There’s so many programs out there to become a part of whether whether you pay for them or or being free I think it’s important,
begin to accept and know that medicine is a very stressful business and if you walk in every day thinking changes the norm.
It’s going to be stressful and try to accept that in your soul it makes your day a little bit bigger a little bit better and last two I have listed are be present,
opportunities are always around the corner can’t emphasize in my career that just making that extra little effort of being present at the meeting.
Or speaking up when you had a thought.
[51:10] Or listening to other people all of a sudden the door is going to open it will open and and make your career more fulfilled and lastly.
I just think that it’s important that we always take time for ourselves exercise make sure you take your vacations cultivate Hobbies.
[51:28] And cultivate the relationships outside of medicine that are close to you and those are all my quick
I guess many prescriptions for Success well they are very thoughtful and very thought-provoking Rob and I really appreciate you being here and taking the time to
share with us it just occurred to me I got so involved in the conversation before that there were a couple of things
that I wanted to ask you about it I’m going to go ahead and ask you to weigh in on this when I looked in your list of non professional interest
there were several things and a couple I wanted to ask you about I understand that you’re a bit of a musician tell us about that well I,
I picked up the guitar in high school was self-taught.
And I started just writing songs and I suggest a musician but a composer.
I’m impressed Joy so I started writing songs and maybe it was all that young you know Romeo and Juliet passionate love I had for my girlfriend at the time and then I wrote so a lot of songs in college and I wrote a few in medical school and then
residency began and raising a family.
And that took a little bit of a pause then but since I came back to Oregon I have reunited with my.
[52:49] Friend the guitar and have written a lot of new songs and.
Through very weird fortuitous ways I’ve come to meet,
many for many musicians in the city of Portland and so in April of 2019 April 20 19 I actually brought them into a recording studio and.
Paid them for their work and they recorded an album of all the music that I had written and composed.
You’re pretty serious about yes yeah we had two recordings we had two recording sessions.
And the album was just released on all the major streaming sites
nationally and internationally if I guess you would say on October first 2021 outstanding yeah it’s called Crossing Lines is the name of the album and it’s,
the Colin Trio and Friends songs by Rob McClure ferti that’s the name of the album how about that yeah and I’m almost done my second album here I was it was I have to say Randy was one of the funnest things.
I have ever done it’s going into a recording studio.
Not knowing anything about how a recording studio works and watching the musicians make this magic.
[54:09] It’s and with your music I mean it was just it was just like one of those bucket list things and it sounds,
sounds eager to eat and sounds egotistical but I just loved loved the experience was so much fun sound
really really cool yeah and and and perhaps this is your post clinical who can say,
but didn’t yeah the other thing I also noticed that you like to cook you want to tell us about your Cuisine specialty and what I might have for dinner if I come to Rob’s house.
[54:47] Well you know that is the change is constant with me so yeah I love to cook and I’m not much of a baker
I’ve always felt that baking takes a huge amount of effort for little payoff cooking is artistry and baking is chemistry as I yes
yeah and so I’m more of a I’d say a barbecue griller and a person who just kind of comes up with maybe,
adding to recipes but more interestingly over the last couple of years.
I have really delved into the nutrition books haha and in March of this year I went vegan.
I went plant-based oh really I did wow good and if you’d asked me two years ago.
I would have said go jump in the lake I’d never be I never be plant-based only never be vegan and I absolutely love it.
I absolutely love it well that’s impressive and I’ll.
[55:49] I don’t think I’ll ever go back and I’m not saying this from a political in a political way about Euros you know animals although they know there’s probably so there’s data out there showing that you know.
[56:03] Maybe not the best thing for the planet in terms of you know methane from cattle and whatnot but absolutely but from a health standpoint just feel great I really feel great,
yeah well that’s very impressive yeah well I’m glad I’m glad I asked you to hang around and answer those questions because both of those subjects are
fascinating to me yeah before we get out of here Rob I want to give you the opportunity to let our audience know where they can find you whether it be
emails websites Twitter handles or whatever you have to offer.
Well I’m pretty easy to find on if you just put my name because my last name is relatively unique it’s not MC capital city but MC capital l.
[56:47] I’m I’m on Twitter occasionally and you just if you search me you’ll be able to find my name and then obviously I’m.
On Facebook and Instagram and most of those things are personal but if they have people have questions they certainly could email me at my
academic address which is my last name without the t y so it’s mcla ffer that mcla FF ER at
OHSU dot edu if people have questions or.
Insights or comments or any critique I’m happy too happy to hear it dr. Robert B mclafferty thank you so much for spending some time with us today on prescription for success.
Yeah thank you enjoyed it very much thank you so much for joining us today.
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