Dr. Allen is the Co-Founder of Doc2Doc Lending. He also serves as the vice chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover. Kenton was also elected as president of Health Partners of New Hampshire, Inc., a physician hospital organization that serves over 50 practices, representing over 500 physicians and allied health professionals across state’s Seacoast region.
The CE experience for this Podcast is powered by CMEfy – click here to reflect and earn credits: https://earnc.me/0AIawR
Today’s Episode is brought to you by Doc2Doc Lending. Doc2Doc provides Match Day loans of up to $25,000 to fourth-year medical students and current residents. These loans are designed to help students cover personal expenses, such as moving costs, housing down payments, and living expenses before and during residency. With fixed interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and no prepayment penalties, Doc2Doc Match Day loans provide financial flexibility and allow students to focus on their exciting journey towards becoming a physician.
Doc2Doc was founded for doctors, by doctors. They understand the challenges and hard work involved in becoming a doctor, and they support doctors throughout their careers. Using their in-house lending platform, Doc2Doc considers the unique financial considerations of doctors that are not typically considered by traditional financial institutions. So, Don’t let financial stress hold you back from achieving your goals – Doc2Doc lending has you covered. Visit www.doc2doclending.com/mdcoaches to Learn more.
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Dr. Allen attended Dartmouth Medical School, the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business and did his residency in Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
Dr. Allen’s Prescription for Success:
Number 1: Figure out your priorities, and use them as your guiding star.
Number 2: Find a way to give back.
Connect with Dr. Allen:
Notable quotes from Dr. Allen’s interview:
Success is an ongoing process.
Saying no to an opportunity can be harder than saying yes.
Smoothing the path that I walked for those who walk behind me has been tremendously rewarding.
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Access the Show Transcript Here
Transcript[0:00] Doctors who have been in practice for 15 or 20 years are kind of the bell of the ball when it comes to banks.
Every bank is trying to sell every financial product to a doctor.
But it takes that period of time, that seasoning, for a doctor in the typical career arc in medicine to hit the metrics to be recognized as the bell of the ball.
Welcome to the Prescription for Success podcast with your host, Dr. Randy Cook. [0:35] Music. [0:58] 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 MDCoaches on the web at MyMDCoaches.com because you’re not in this alone. And don’t forget that CME credit is available when you listen with us. Just look for CMFI in the show notes to learn how. My guest today is not only a practicing anesthesiologist, he’s also part owner, of a lending institution that exists specifically for the purpose of providing loans for physicians and dentists. The company is called Doc-to-Doc Lending, and one of the co-creators is with me today to talk about how that came about. So here’s my conversation with Dr. Kenton Allen.
I have a fascinating guest with me today, Dr. Kenton Allen, who is coming to us from up in Hanover, New Hampshire. Is that right, Kenton?
Actually, I live in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but I spent quite a bit of time in Hanover.
So now it’s Portsmouth. [2:22] I’m really looking forward to the conversation, Kenton. got a fascinating story to tell that includes not only a successful medical career, but also a really important business that I’m really excited to be able to share with our audience.
So let’s get underway with what we usually do, and that is begin at the beginning and learn where your career started.
So were there medical influencers in your family or did this idea of medical school spring anew in your own imagination? Where did that come from?
Yeah, Randy, first of all, thanks for having me here today. It’s a pleasure to be part of your community and in the conversation. [3:08] I did have some medical influence in my family. My mother was a nurse and handled everything medical within our family and extended family.
It was kind of the point of contact for any medical advice or question.
And so from an early age, had an interest in medicine and certainly admired her for the role she played our family and I think planted an early seed when it came to interest in having a professional career in medicine.
Dr. Darrell Bock And what about your dad?
What was his field of endeavor? Dr. Tim Jackson Yeah, no, my father was a fire alarm and 911 system salesman.
And that was a family business started by my grandfather.
My father was one of seven and I think all of the seven at one time worked within the family business and the business is still in existence today.
Now most of my cousins as well as still some of my uncles work there.
So I was a bit of a black sheep for going in a different direction.
Darrell Bock I understand. I grew up in a family of athletes. [4:20] So there you go. Let’s talk about your education. When you matriculated at Holy Cross way back, had you made up your mind at that point that medical school was going to be it, or were you still in the decision-making process?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani I had made up my mind that I wanted to do something in the sciences but was on the fence as to exactly how that would play out.
You know, Holy Cross was a liberal arts school and so you were forced to be exposed to different academic paths.
And I knew pretty early on that the sciences were what kind of struck a chord with me.
But I wasn’t sure through college how that would play out.
And so, no, it wasn’t always the direction I knew I would take, but it was one of the possibilities.
Darrell Bock And even right at the point of your graduation, in your bachelor’s degree. Were you more certain at that point?
I know you took some time out to do a fellowship and transplant immunology. [5:30] So, were you still in the process of deciding? Was it going to be pure science or was it going to be medicine?
What was going on?
Dr. John Bader-Yoon Yeah, that’s right. And that was really the advantage of that program.
It was through the National Institutes of Health, and it was called the Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Fellowship Program, which I think is still in existence today.
The advantage of the department that I joined, which was the Experimental Transplantation and immunology branch of the NIH is that there was both benchtop research and clinical medicine in the form of clinical trials being held in that department.
Dr. Darrell Bock Wow. So did you actually, and I hate to interrupt, but I’m really curious about this, were you actually in a situation where you were seeing patients or was it just a matter of, well go ahead and tell the story.
Yeah, so it was that’s that’s what attracted me to it actually is there was a the ability to have both experiences. So so the department was. [6:34] Ultimately responsible for for experimental stem cell transplantation in patients who, Otherwise had had failed all alternative therapies for their their cancer treatment and and so patients were physically at the NIH going through these stem cell transplantations. [6:54] But the studies that were being done and the research being done within those clinical trials was benchtop research. So the department had both a full laboratory and part of my responsibilities were to run the various assays on the patient cell lines, but also we rounded on the patients. And so, there were MD clinicians as part of the team and there were PhD researchers on that same team collaborating on these clinical trials and experimental treatments. And my role was to kind of have a foot in all camps. And again, it was appealing to me at the time because I was trying to decide which path was right for me.
Well, that’s a great way to get an overhead view of what you might be in for, and I bet, you treasure that time, I’m thinking.
Yeah. You know, the decision point in my mind at that point in my life was I had seen the benefit and the personal satisfaction that could come from looking a patient in the eye and making a decision about how to care for their health and their condition and found that rewarding. [8:11] But in a different way, was really excited by the ability to do research that would impact tens, hundreds of thousands of people on a global scale.
And I wasn’t sure which one of those I wanted to dedicate my career towards. [8:27] Darrell Bock Well, let’s talk about how you progressed from there.
You did indeed enroll in medical school at Dartmouth, but you really got yourself into a truly unique program.
I don’t think Dartmouth is the only program in the country that does this, but it was not just medical school, it was business school. [8:50] It took not just four years, but six years, right? Dr. John Baxter After that experience at the NIH, I decided I wanted to go into clinical medicine.
That was what struck me the most as being impactful and meaningful to me personally.
I did go to Dartmouth Medical School and it was right at the time that Dartmouth as a whole was trying to build a dual degree program. So they were actively recruiting medical students to matriculate in this dual degree program at the business school with the thought that health care leaders would benefit from a business understanding. And it was really perceived in different ways by different people. You know, certain people felt as though going into business in addition to medicine was sacrificing clinicians in training future administrators and other people felt that a business education would be a stepping stone to be a clinical leader. And so there are people weren’t jumping at the opportunity in our medical school class to be part of that program. But ultimately I did and and Certainly, it was a major influence in my career. Can I ask you, at that point, we make all kinds of incredibly important decisions when. [10:13] We have seen very little of what the world has to offer and what the challenges are going to be like.
But as you moved into that situation where you knew you would have both a medical education and a business education, what did your vision for the future look like at that point?
And then later on, I’m going to want to know if that changed over time.
Dr. Tim Jackson The reason that that program was appealing to me was because I still had a desire to be impactful on a 10,000-foot scale in addition to the direct patient-to-patient interaction.
And I had the fortunate experience of having, as one of my medical school classmates, a survivor of the Burundian genocide, who was really inspirational to me.
He was born in Burundi and was going through medical school there and was in his second to last year when the genocide occurred.
And the genocide in Burundi was the same two groups that experienced the genocide in Rwanda.
And it was a very kind of similar experience for Burundians, but wasn’t as widely recognized globally.
So as the remainder of the class were going through first year medical school and studying for anatomy and physiology tests and exams and practicals, he was spending his time going. [11:42] Down and testifying before Congress asking for additional aid for his for his country and and well and it made what we were going through seem seem as though there was more work to be done on a global level and it kind of opened my eyes to to that. And really, his story was really amazing and worthy of a conversation in and of itself, you know, after he ended up, Tracy Kidder ended up writing a book about him, how he escaped the genocide and ended up going to learning English and going to Columbia and then came to Dartmouth for medical school. What he’s been able to do in Burundi has been really amazing.
Pete I bet. [12:25] But it did inspire me to want to have that 10,000 foot impact.
And in learning through him, it opened my eyes to the fact that people who were making some of the most impactful differences at that level were people who understood how to utilize a fixed number of resources to have the greatest impact for the most number of people.
And that wasn’t necessarily a skill that was taught in medical school, but it was really foundational to the understanding of business.
Dr. Darrell Bock Yeah. And you actually spent some time in Burundi yourself, did you not?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani Yeah.
It was after my third year of medical school before– Dr. Darrell Bock Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani –before starting business school. And uh, we went uh, my wife and I both went over. My wife’s a nurse.
Both went over to Burundi to help develop some of the programs there and it was we were focused primarily on the malnutrition program as well as some of the inpatient programs there. And you know it was we were there for almost six months and was was very impactful you know it’s it’s a it’s a completely different type of medicine that’s practiced but it’s it’s also rewarding in a way that I think a lot of the medicine in the United States has ceased to be. [13:53] Today’s episode is brought to you by Doc-to-Doc Lending. Doc-to-Doc provides match day loans of up to $25,000 to fourth year medical students and current residents. These loans are designed to help students cover personal expenses such as moving costs, housing down payments, and living expenses before and during residency. With fixed interest rates, flexible repayment terms and no prepayment penalties, Doc-to-Doc Match Day loans provide financial flexibility and allow students to focus on their exciting journey towards becoming a physician.
Doc-to-Doc was founded for doctors by doctors. They understand the challenges and hard work involved in becoming a doctor and they support doctors throughout their careers.
Using their in-house lending platform, Doc-to-Doc considers the unique financial considerations of doctors that are not typically considered by traditional financial institutions.
So don’t let financial stress hold you back from achieving your goals.
Doc-to-Doc Lending has you covered. Visit www.doc-to-doc-lending.com slash MDCoaches to learn more. [15:09] Music. [15:15] Hi, I’m Rhonda Crowe, founder and CEO for MD Coaches. Here on Rx for Success, we interview a lot of great medical professionals on how they grew their careers, how they overcame challenges, and how they handle day-to-day work.
I really hope you’re getting a lot of great information.
But if you’re looking for an answer to a specific problem, management or administration challenge or if you’re feeling just a bit burnt out like maybe you chose the wrong career, well, then there’s a faster way to get the help you need. No, it’s not counseling, it’s coaching.
Rx for Success is produced by MD Coaches, a team of physicians who have been where you are.
I know you’re used to going it alone, but you don’t have to. Get the support you need today.
Visit us at MyMDCoaches.com to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Again, that’s MyMDCoaches.com, because you’re not in this alone. [16:17] We’ll get back to our interview in just a moment, but right now I want to tell you a little bit about Physician Outlook.
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That’s a really great deal on this stunning publication. [17:20] And now let’s get back to today’s interview. I want to move on to find out a little bit more about something that I would never have guessed that a person with your background would have any interest in.
You and your partner, Swati Marshall, have started a company called Doc-to-Doc Lending.
What a brilliant idea, what a wonderful service you’re providing.
But I’m going to let you speak on your own for a moment and tell us how all that came about, what was the nidus of the idea, and how’s it going?
It certainly wasn’t wasn’t the plan to when I when I went into medicine to start to be a banker financial, financial technology company exactly, but it was born out of it was born out of my experience as a early career physician and and shared by, By by Zawadeh who also is an anesthesiologist. We were co-residents together in Boston That’s how we met and in our experiences we found were experiences that were shared pretty widely.
And to share mine, when I graduated medical school and business school, I had $225,000 worth of student loan debt. [18:41] I told you I was recently married and my wife and I had our first daughter my last year of those six years at Dartmouth.
And we had our second daughter during residency while we were in Boston.
And when we moved to Boston, I carried that debt And my salary at the time was $54,000 a year.
For people that know Boston. [19:04] The longwood hospitals are close to jamaica plain which is at the time was not the the best neighborhood um and and so we had an apartment in not the best part of jamaica plain but still our rent was over two thousand dollars a month and um and when you did the math it was challenging for me to support our family on my salary and uh and certainly even more challenging to try to continue progress on our personal and professional goals. And so we were in the position of needing to make a decision of either supplementing my salary or kind of hitting the brakes on on what what we wanted to see our lives go. And when I went to to look into into seeing how I could supplement my salary and where I could borrow money from, I was really disheartened to see that I was viewed as a high-risk borrower and the you know the banks that I spoke to looked at the debt that I carried they looked at my income they looked at my my monthly expenses the fact that I had a family and didn’t want to lend to me because on paper I looked so high-risk and the people that did want to extend credit to me did so at predatory interest rates that felt unfair and Zawadeh had a similar experience and like I said as we talked to more and more of our of our. [20:24] Colleagues and it was it was an experience that was not uncommon and during that time in my life you know residencies grueling and taking care of critical patients.
Working long hours is really stressful but probably the most stressful part of that experience that time in my life was related to the the financial component of life as a early doctor. You know we were we were pretty close to qualifying for free diapers and free formula for a while during my residency. [20:56] And it was it really weighed on me. You know i was in my mid-30s and asking for families to to help support me was was really humbling at that point in my life and um and so it’s a long way of answering your your question randy that you know it was that experience that led to the founding of dr doc and what what dr doc does is we offer personal loans to to doctors at all stages of their career but we look at the risk of our niche population differently. In general we tend to be prospective looking, understanding that the future is bright.
And in general, we’re high earning professionals. [21:36] And student loan, medical student loan data suggests that the risk of default in our population is significantly lower than the general population.
We’ve now seen that play out in our own portfolio over the past six years.
And so we make it easy to have access to capital for doctors for whatever reason and do so at rates that make sense, that we think make sense.
And do that by underwriting our loans differently than the traditional banking system.
I’m going to ask you a rather prejudicial question here, and it is I who is the prejudiced one, but you mentioned that you were looked upon as a quote high-risk borrower when you were at the conclusion.
Of your training, and yet the data makes it fairly clear that physicians are really not, despite the amount of debt that they have and so forth and so on, they’re really not high-risk borrowers.
I have to think that the lenders know that, and yet they choose to take advantage of people that they know are low-risk, but yet make them pay as if they’re high-risk.
Am I just being paranoid, or could that be possible?
No, I don’t think you’re paranoid. And lenders do know that.
Doctors who have been in practice for 15 or 20 years are kind of the bell of the ball when it comes to banks.
Every bank is trying to sell every financial product to a doctor. [23:02] You bet. But it takes that period of time, that seasoning for a doctor in the typical career arc in medicine to hit the metrics to be recognized as the bell of the ball.
So our loan product is, for someone who’s been in practice 20 years, is probably on par with what’s already offered in the market.
Now, there are things that we do that we think are superior in other ways, you know, with how quickly we move, how familiar we are with the doctor experience, and how we kind of tailor the terms of our product to be friendly for doctors specifically.
But, you know, in terms of cost of the loan product in general, for the neurosurgeon who’s been in practice for 20 years.
They have access to products that, from a cost perspective, are on par with what we offer.
But for the early career physicians, that’s where our value proposition resonates most strongly and where the banks are not recognizing.
At that point in your career too, you also are not risky despite what the metrics are showing.
Dr. Darrell Bock That’s very interesting. I could ask you. [24:07] A lot of other things about Dr. Doc. I’m actually going to defer that because fortunately for, me and for our audience, I’m actually going to be interviewing your partner, Dr. Duarte Marshall shortly. And so I’m going to use that opportunity to talk some more about Doc-to-Doc when we get there. And certainly I’m looking forward to that conversation.
But at this point, I really think I have taken up quite enough of your very generous offer of time. And I’m going to officially close this part of the conversation and take us into the part of the program that I like the best.
And that’s when I stay out of the way and let the guest do the talking. So I’m going to close my mic and Dr. Ken Allen is going to share his personal. [25:00] Prescriptions for success. Well thanks Randy. I wish I could say with some certainty that I’ve figured out how to succeed both in medicine and in life. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned that this is an ongoing process. And with that, there have been some things that have kind of helped me and grounded me as I’ve needed to pivot again, both personally and professionally.
The first thing, and I think what’s been most useful is really understanding my priorities and my family’s shared priorities and having that as kind of a guiding star. You know, over the course of my career in medicine, we’ve gone through starting a family. I talked about about how we settled down and relocated geographically.
We’ve kind of made the transition of raising a young family to now having a family that’s school-aged. [25:57] And at school during the day.
Had opportunities for clinical advancement and through doc-to-doc entrepreneurial opportunities.
And we’ve had family illnesses within our family. And each of those major events has really required there to be some significant changes.
But understanding what my priorities are and what our family’s priorities are has been really grounding in helping to work through those and when to say yes to an opportunity and when to say no to an opportunity, which sometimes can be even harder than saying yes.
And also how to balance personal and professional goals.
And I think those priorities are gonna be different for people that people, you know, speaking with my co-residents and colleagues, other people’s priorities aren’t the same as mine, but knowing what yours are, I think can be really valuable doing that earlier rather than later can help ensure that the career path that you go down as one that’s gonna be. [26:50] Rewarding and not one that is a source of frustration in your life which you know, ultimately I think is the measure of success more so than any other measurement. The second thing I think that’s been rewarding for me and again, rewarding being the ultimate measure of success and in my mind is finding a way to give back and be impactful. And you know, for me through through doc to doc kind of smoothing the path that I walked for the people who are walking the same path behind me has been tremendously rewarding and both professionally and personally.
The other way I make that impact is through the New Hampshire Medical Society and some of the advocacy that causes change on a 10,000 foot level.
And having that balance, the day-to-day clinical interactions we have has really made for what I feel is a career I enjoy and continue to want to be part of.
And so, summary of those two things, understanding what your priorities are, and secondly, finding a way to give back in a way that’s personally rewarding.
Again, those would be my suggestions as to what treatment for success would be. [28:05] But it’s with the caveat that I certainly haven’t figured out myself, Randy.
Well, there is a lot of wisdom there.
Know your priorities and find ways to give back.
Sounds like you have identified your priorities very well and have made yourself. [28:22] A fairly profound contributor in many ways. Ken, it’s really been a pleasure having a conversation with you today.
Before we leave, I want to give you an opportunity to tell our audience where they can find out more about you, where they can find you, and how they can find out more about Doc-to-Doc Lending.
Doc-to-Doc Lending, we have a website that has a pretty robust description about our company and our philosophy. It’s doc2doclending.com.
And the best way to be in touch with me is via email. And Randy, my email is just Kenton, K-E-N-T-O-N, at doc2doclending.com.
Again, D-O-C, the number two, D-O-C, lending.com. Dr. Kenton Allen, co-creator of Doc-to-Doc Lending. [29:13] I have really enjoyed this conversation and I thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today on Prescriptions for Success.
Well, likewise, Randy, and thank you for the invitation.
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