Member of the Month: Joshua Splinter, M.D.
Resident member passionate about others choosing family medicine
After being hired by physicians to do some information technology work, Joshua Splinter, M.D., started thinking about medicine as a possible career field. “When I chose to apply to medical school, I was just a kid fixing computers in the Houston area,” says Splinter. Upon entering medical school at UTHSCSA, he chose to pursue family medicine because “it just fit,” and met his future wife, a medical student at UT Houston.
Now a second-year resident at the San Jacinto Methodist Hospital in Baytown, Splinter is interested in procedural medicine, obstetrics, full-scope care for underserved populations, and possibly teaching medical students and residents. He also serves the Texas Army National Guard part time as a field surgeon.
Why did you choose family medicine, and what’s your favorite aspect of it? Were you inspired by anyone?
I liked everything in medical school. But when I did my family medicine rotation, as cliche as it might sound, it just fit. There was consistently a concern for how the physician’s role could impact that patient, their family, and the health care system. I had so many great role models that I’m sure I will offend someone by not mentioning their name. But I owe a considerable thank you to Dr. Larry Karrh and Dr. Frank Wright. Both modeled a level of excellence while I was a medical student in San Antonio, for which I am still striving.
What has been your favorite rotation, and why?
At our residency program, our inpatient service is probably the most rigorous. This lends itself to early mornings and long days. But it’s also the time I am able to interact with other physicians the most, and manage the patients that are the most ill. This results in a strong learning experience. I am thankful for a great group of local community physicians that have always been willing to teach anytime I have a question.
What advice would you offer to other residents?
Never waste down time. If you have a slower rotation with any free time during work hours, float to other areas of the hospital that interest you and befriend the physicians doing what you want to do.
What are your future goals when you go into practice?
Full scope practice in rural Texas or in an academic setting.
What is the best lesson you have learned in residency?
Most learning happens after medical school.
What has your experience as a TAFP member been like?
It has been great. Long-time members are eager to mentor new physicians and medical students. The career and personal guidance I have received has been invaluable.
How can we attract more medical students to family medicine?
Medical school clinical rotations in family medicine must be high quality. The echo chamber of medical school is good at perpetuating misinformation. Strong clinical experiences would go far to clear up misconceptions. Resident and medical student members should task themselves with being visible spokespersons for the field.
What would you be doing professionally if you were not a physician?
High school or college science teacher.
How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife, hiking, weightlifting, and a little more Xbox than is probably normal.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.