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Q&A: Mark Goldstein, president of Carroll Hospital medical staff, elected during a pandemic

Dr. Mark Goldstein was elected president of medical staff at Carroll Hospital.
Dr. Mark Goldstein was elected president of medical staff at Carroll Hospital. (Courtesy Photo)

Taking office during a pandemic, Dr. Mark Goldstein is the newest president of Carroll Hospital’s medical staff.

Goldstein has been with the hospital for eight years, according to a hospital news release, and his recent election also gives him a seat on the board of directors, as an ex-officio member.

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Goldstein earned his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed his residency at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, the release reads.

The Times caught up with Goldstein to ask him about what this new role means for him.

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Q: What has your experience been in the medical field and what positions have you held at Carroll Hospital?

A: I completed my residency in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2012, and I have been practicing as a board-certified emergency medicine physician at Carroll Hospital ever since. In my eight years at Carroll I have served on numerous committees including the Quality Review Committee, Emergent Care Committee and PCI (heart attack intervention) Committee. I was interim chair of the Emergency Department (ED) for two years, director of clinical operations for the ED for the past three years and vice president of the medical staff from 2018 to 2020.

Q: What responsibilities will you have as president of the medical staff and as a member of the board of directors at Carroll Hospital? How will your work change, if at all?

A: As president of the medical staff, I represent the medical providers who work at Carroll Hospital. I have a great deal of reverence for this important role. The hospital leadership and board need the perspectives and insights from clinicians to make informed decisions, and it is my job to listen to our medical staff and synthesize these insights into advice that can guide the hospital forward. In addition to my duties as a physician, I will attend various hospital departmental and leadership meetings, maintain communication with clinicians, and try to support the medical staff and the mission of the hospital in any way I can. This is a change because in the past I have probably been more focused on my own department (the ED), and now I’ll be zooming out my lens in serving the entire medical staff.

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Q: In the midst of a pandemic, how does the fight against COVID-19 shape your goals in these new positions?

A: COVID-19 is a challenge to every facet of society and, of course, the house of medicine has been front and center in the battle against this virus. There are logistical challenges in ensuring that we can continue to protect our staff and patients with appropriate protocols and equipment. There are economic challenges for both patients and clinicians who have had to drastically change the way they practice. My biggest concern is to ensure that we are taking care of the providers who are charged with taking care of our community. We need to make sure providers’ observations/fears/opinions are heard at the leadership level so they have a sense of control over their environment in this stressful time. We also need to ensure that providers can seek help and assistance when they feel overwhelmed. Building this type of culture will be essential to getting us through these rocky waters.

Q: How did you react when you learned you were elected president? Who gets to vote and what about you do you think won the voters over?

A: I was honored to be elected and excited about serving in this role. The entire medical staff gets to vote, but this was not a contentious campaign like one sees on the national stage. The ED is like the central axis of a wheel, and so in working there you develop communication “spokes” that touch nearly every part of the outpatient and inpatient care universe. So I think working as an ED physician for eight years has allowed me to connect with a large portion of our medical staff, and I hope that this clinical work plus my other hospital leadership roles have inspired confidence from the medical staff in my capacity to represent them well.

Q: Is there anything the public can do to help the hospital during the pandemic?

A: Yes, the work starts with staying well informed, which is a harder task than it sounds in this age of information glut. Unbiased public health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, and from large centers of research like the National Institutes of Health are still the best resources for learning about this illness and its impact. I think what people need to appreciate is that medicine, and science in general, is constantly evolving — it is designed to be malleable. This is a good thing because as we learn more about a disease like COVID-19, we can challenge our prior assumptions and build new constructs. It may seem discouraging when an expert’s advice from February changes several months later in June, but this is actually how science works; we want advice to change as we gain more knowledge. In that respect, the best thing the people in the community can do to protect the hospital is avoid being vectors for transmission of this disease.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: We are very fortunate at Carroll to have a high level of community engagement with the hospital. Most of our staff, leadership and board comes from the community we serve, and despite the changes and growth we’ve experienced over the years, we still benefit from a small-town hospital culture. Our primary mission is to provide excellent care for our patients in the community, and I’m excited to support our medical staff in accomplishing this mission.

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